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From BR Bullpen
The Asia Series is an annual international postseason baseball competition between the domestic league champions of Asia. The tournament began with 2005 with teams representing China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. It was not held in 2009 or 2010. It resumed in 2011 with Australia replacing China as the 4th team. China was back in 2012, when it became a six-team event.
The first tournament, held in 2005 at the Tokyo Dome, was won by the Chiba Lotte Marines (NPB) with the Marines' Benny Agbayani as the MVP. The next year, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (NPB) won and Yu Darvish won the MVP award. In 2007, the Chunichi Dragons (NPB) won despite a stiff challenge from the SK Wyverns of the KBO. SK beat Chunichi in the first round before a close 6-5 loss in the championship game. Hirokazu Ibata was named MVP after his 9th-inning game-winning single off of former NPB hurler Mike Romano.
In the 2008 Asia Series, the three top teams all went 2-1 in the first round before the Japanese squad, the Seibu Lions, eked out a 1-0 win in the finale. The MVP was Tomoaki Sato. After 2008, the event was canceled for financial reasons. Plans were made for it to be reinstated in 2010 but these fell through. It restarted in 2011. The 2011 Asia Series marked the first champion from outside Japan, as the Samsung Lions beat the Softbank Hawks, 5-3, in the finale. The MVP was Won-sam Jang, the first pitcher to win two games in an Asia Series.
The tournament has six (6) qualifying teams based on the results of their domestic competition.
From 2005-2011, the four participants were:
- China - An All-star team representing the China Baseball League (CBL) called the China Stars). In 2008, the China Baseball League winner participated and in 2011, the Australian Baseball League champion played instead
- Japan - winner of the Nippon Series (NPB)
- South Korea - winner of the Korean Series (KBO)
- Taiwan - winner of the Taiwan Series (CPBL)
In 2012, a second Korean team was added as well as China and Australia both sending entries.
The format for the first 5 Cups was a single-game round-robin, followed by a single championship game between the top two teams. All games are played with a designated hitter and a 10-run mercy rule.
|2005||Chiba Lotte Marines||5 - 3||Samsung Lions|
|2006||Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters||1 - 0||La New Bears|
|2007||Chunichi Dragons||6 - 5||SK Wyverns|
|2008||Seibu Lions||1 - 0||Uni-President Lions|
|2011||Samsung Lions||5 - 3||Softbank Hawks|
|2012||Yomiuri Giants||6-3||Lamigo Monkeys|