Makoto Kadowaki singled in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning to seal Japan's victory in the Asia Professional Baseball Championship with a 4-3 come-from-behind win over South Korea in Sunday's final.
Trailing in the bottom of the 10th at Tokyo Dome after South Korea scored a run via the international tie-break rule that starts extra innings with runners on first and second, Shogo Sakakura's one-out sacrifice fly tied it before Kadowaki ended it with a two-out single off Jung Hai Young.
"What a relief," new Japan manager Hirokazu Ibata said. "The players' hard work made the win possible and I'm grateful to them."
"He (Kadowaki) had been over-swinging a bit, but at the end he took it easily up the middle."
Yoon Dong Hee put South Korea ahead with a two-out 10th-inning single off right-hander Kojiro Yoshimura, who started the inning by getting a big double play that paved the way for Japan's comeback.
South Korea took a two-run third-inning lead off right-hander Tatsuya Imai. With two on from a leadoff walk and an error, cleanup hitter Roh Si Hwan lined a pitch past short for a two-run double.
Japan cleanup hitter Shugo Maki halved the deficit with a fifth-inning solo homer, and Chusei Mannami, who had three hits, scored the tying run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Teruaki Sato.
Taiwan won the third-place game by defeating Australia 4-3 earlier in the day.