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South Korea takes Olympics baseball gold

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South Korea will be the defending Olympic baseball champion for at least 12* years in light of its 3-2 victory over Cuba Saturday night in the Beijing Games final. (*Update: Earlier, we said eight years.)

Cuba and Japan were widely considered to be the favorites prior to the tournament. But the U.S. had to settle for bronze, beating Japan 8-4 on Saturday, and South Korea went undefeated in seven tournament games, handing Cuba (5-2) both of its losses.

Lee Seung-yuop gave his team the lead on a two-run homer in the first inning, and Lee Yong-kyu added a run in the seventh on a double. South Korea become the first unbeaten Olympic baseball champion since Cuba, which went undefeated in 1992 and 1996.

Korean reliever Chong Tae-hyon got Yuliesky Gourriel to ground into a double play with the bases loaded in the ninth, dashing Cuba’s hopes for the gold.

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Baseball has been dropped from the Olympic Games calendar for at least the next two Summer Games.

-- Greg Johnson


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