TOKYO: Kim Hyun-Soo drove in three runs and Park Byung-Ho smashed a three-run homer as South Korea humbled the United States 8-0 to win the Premier 12 baseball tournament on Saturday.
The Koreans, who edged bitter rivals Japan 4-3 in a pulsating semi-final 48 hours earlier, were indebted once again to Kim, named MVP for the inaugural competition featuring the top 12 teams in the world.
The Doosan Bears talisman boosted his Major League Baseball ambitions with a pair of doubles at Tokyo Dome before Park, himself heavily linked with a move to the Minnesota Twins, belted a 2-0 pitch into the left-field seats to give Korea a 7-0 lead in the fourth.
“The players did their country proud,” Korean coach Kim In-Sik told reporters. “We did a fantastic job and it’s very pleasing to win the gold medal in such style.”
South Korea capped the scoring in the top of the ninth when Jeong Keun-Woo drew a bases-loaded walk off Casey Coleman as they outhit the Americans 13-5, having chased starter Zack Segovia from the game after just two-plus innings.
Kim Hyun-Soo, who helped South Korea win gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, dedicated his MVP award to team-mate Lee Dae-Ho after his heroics in the thrilling semi-final fightback against Japan.
“I thought Dae-Ho deserved it because if it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have made the final,” said Kim. “Winning the Beijing Olympics was great but I’m delighted about tonight’s victory after a tough tournament.”
Kim Kwang-Hyun got the start for the Koreans and threw five innings of shutout ball, allowing four hits and striking out five for the win over an American side made up of players not on major league rosters.
Japan took the bronze medal after the two-time World Baseball Classic champions crushed Mexico 11-1 in the third-place game earlier at the same venue.