Samurai Japan got its new era started with a dramatic finish.
Shogo Sakakura connected on a game-tying sacrifice fly before Makoto Kadowaki hit a sayonara single as Japan rallied from a run down in the 10th inning to beat South Korea 4-3 in the Asia Professional Baseball Championship final on Sunday night at Tokyo Dome.
“I’m really happy we were able to win in front of so many fans today,” Japan manager Hirokazu Ibata said, addressing a crowd of 41,883 at the Big Egg.
Japan began the year by winning the World Baseball Classic in the spring and ended it by winning the U24 APBC.
The most recent title came under new manager Ibata, who was hired to succeed Hideki Kuriyama in October, and with a group of player who might end up playing for even bigger prizes with the national team in the future.
“I’m really relieved,” Ibata said. “The players all did their best and I am grateful to them.”
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