By Nick Butler at the Munhak Baseball Stadium in Incheon

South Korea celebrate their hard fought victory over Taiwan ©Getty ImagesBaseball delivered a strong pitch to the world here tonight in its bid for Olympic inclusion after South Korea won a topsy-turvy and engrossing final over tenacious Taiwanese opposition in an electrifying atmosphere at the Asian Games. 

The most popular sport in the host nation, the baseball competition has provided more cause for excitement among the locals than any other during these Games, with the fact that some of the strongest players in the country were part of their team an added boost.

In comparison, Taiwan sent a largely second-string team due to the fact that the tournament coincided with their domestic league and, after being thumped 10-0 by the South Koreans earlier in the competition, most people were expecting a similarly large margin of victory this time around.

But nothing can be taken for granted in sport, and Taiwan displayed the same dogged determination and efficiency as they showed in their shock semi-final victory over Japan, the eventual bronze medal winners who had been expected to be South Korea's foremost rival.

Pitcher Kim Kwang-hyun restricted Taiwan in the latter stages of the final ©Getty ImagesPitcher Kim Kwang-hyun restricted Taiwan in the latter stages of the final ©Getty Images

After South Korea failed to capitalise with no outs and the bases loaded in the first innings, Pin-Chieh Chen opened the scoring for the Taiwanese to give them a 1-0 lead.

The next six innings were nip and tuck with South Korea edging briefly ahead before Taiwan hit back to take a 3-2 lead, with the score staying that way until there were just three innings left.

But the partisan home crowd, who never stopped singing, chanting, waving and shouting for a moment, never gave up hope, and nor did the men in blue on the pitch.

In the seventh innings the South Koreans had another major chance, and this time took it, as Hwang Jae-gyun's successful hit with runners on second and third bases ended with four runs scored.

Baseball, together with softball, attempted to return to the Olympic programme last year only to miss out as wrestling was returned. But new doors have now opened ©AFP/Getty ImagesBaseball, together with softball, attempted to return to the Olympic programme last year only to miss out as wrestling was returned. But new doors have now opened ©AFP/Getty Images

There was still a tense finale, but the fans sensed victory, and when the third Taiwanese man was out in the ninth innings, there were delirious scenes as players rushed onto the pitch and the crowd burst into even more fervent applause.

It was South Korea's fourth title in the last five editions of the Asian Games, with their first victory coming the last time they took place on home soil, in Busan in 2002.

They also took gold the last time the sport was featured on the Olympic programme, at Beijing 2008, after pushing Cuba and the United States into the minor medal positions. 

But strong signs have being given that the sport will return in time for Tokyo 2020 as an outcome of the ongoing Agenda 2020 reform process in the Olympic Movement, with the likes of International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and Olympic Council of Asia chief Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah recently seeming to endorse their campaign. 

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