Korea Claims Title at Inaugural Premier 12

      November 23, 2015 11:04

      Korea handed the U.S. an 8-0 defeat in Tokyo on Saturday to win the final of the Premier 12 baseball tournament.

      The Premier 12 is a baseball tournament organized by the World Baseball Softball Confederation involving 12 top-ranked nations.

      Korean baseball players pose for a group photo after winning the Premier 12 final in Tokyo on Saturday.

      The Korean offense generated runs early, while effective pitching and tight fielding combined to keep the U.S. scoreless at the Tokyo Dome. Slugger Kim Hyun-soo's batting average of 0.333 and 13 RBIs earned him the tournament MVP award.

      Kim Hyun-soo poses with his MVP trophy after the Premier 12 final in Tokyo on Saturday.

      Low on international experience and missing many of the country's best pitchers -- including Oh Seung-hwan, Yoon Suk-min and Yang Hyeon-jong -- the squad went into the tournament branded as one of the weakest ever to represent Korea.

      However, team spirit was high and a strong sense of unity among both coaching staff and players helped Korea claim the first worldwide baseball competition, seven years after Korea took the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

      The players and staff were welcomed by cheering fans upon their return to Seoul on Sunday. Manager Kim In-sik said, "I'm thrilled by the fact that we beat Japan and the U.S. in consecutive games at the Tokyo Dome, the heart of Japanese baseball, and lifted the champions' trophy. We were worried at the beginning, but the players performed beyond expectations."

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