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South Korea takes Olympics baseball gold

August 23, 2008 |  8:57 am

South Korea's baseball team celebrate after winning the gold medal game against Cuba at the Beijing Games on Saturday.

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.

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

-- Greg Johnson

Photo: South Korea's baseball team celebrates after winning the gold-medal game against Cuba at the Beijing Games on Saturday. Credit: Ahmad Yusni/EPA