Japan beats rival Korea in Final to win first-ever Asia Professional Baseball Championship



TOKYO –  Filled with the brightest young stars in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), the Samurai Japan National Team completed a perfect run to win the inaugural WBSC-sanctioned Asia Professional Baseball Championship 2017, shutting out rival Korea, 7-0, before 30,498 fans Sunday night at the Tokyo Dome.

The Samurai pitching staff, led by starting/winning pitcher Kazuto Taguchi (Yomiuri Giants – NPB), limited a Korean National Team filled with young Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) stars to just three hits in the finale.

Tournament MVP Shuta Tonosaki (Saitama Seibu Lions – NPB) delivered Japan’s first two runs with RBI singles in the bottom of the 4th and 5th Innings.

Ryoma Nishikawa (Hiroshima Toyo Carp – NPB) followed with a two-run double in the 5th that pushed Japan’s lead to 4-0. Nishikawa added some insurance by belting a solo home run off Korea reliever Minho Lee (NC Dinos – KBO) in the 7th inning.

In his victory speech, new Samurai Japan manager Atsunori Inaba said his squad is targeting Olympic gold in 2020, when baseball makes its returns at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Korea won the gold medal in baseball the last time the sport was featured at the Olympics (2008 Beijing).

The All APBC 2017 Team

Japan had five players named to the all-tournament team, including MVP Tonosaki, while Korea had three players and Chinese Taipei two.