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Asia Series undergoes facelift

Kyodo

The Asia Series will expand to six teams in November, when it is held in South Korea for the first time. In addition to teams from Australia, Taiwan and Japan, China will send a representative to the series for the first time since 2008, while host South Korea will have two clubs in the competition.

Australian champion Perth Heat will join the club champions of Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and China. The Korean Baseball Organization’s Lotte Giants, who will host the tournament in Busan, will round out the field. The tournament will run from Nov. 8 to Nov. 11.

The Japan Series champion will compete in Group B with the Lotte Giants and the Heat. Group A will comprise the Korea Series winner, the China Baseball Association champion and the Taiwan Series winner. Should Lotte win the Korean Series, it will play in Group A, with the beaten finalist playing in Group B.

Both of the Japan champion’s group games will be at noon, on Nov. 9 against the Heat and on Nov. 10 against a South Korean club.

Last year, South Korea’s Samsung Lions defeated the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks 5-3 in the final in Taiwan. It was the first time a Japanese team had lost the competition that started in 2005 and the first time it had been held outside of Japan.

The tournament winner will earn 500 million South Korean won, (¥35 million).