Japan Wins 66th Little League Baseball World Series
Kitasuna Little League All-Stars hit five home runs en route to 12-2 victory over Goodlettsville, Tenn., and Japan’s eighth World Series title
Be sure to read the other Japan team victory story here.
Noriatsu Osaka hit three home runs and Kotaro Kiyomiya struck out eight over four innings as Japan defeated Goodlettsville, Tenn., 12-2, to win the 66th Little League Baseball World Series. The game was shortened to five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.
The victory before 24,193 fans at Howard J. Lamade Stadium gave Japan its eighth World Series title, the second in the last three years. Edogawa Minami Little League of Tokyo won the championship in 2010.
“I just told them to play as usual,” manager Yoichi Kubo said through interpreter Yuichi Ishibashi. “I tried to manage as usual, too. I didn’t want to change a thing.”
Kubo won his second World Series championship. He also led the Kitasuna All-Stars to a title in 2001, when it defeated Apopka, Fla., 2-1.
“It is a special feeling,” he said.
Osaka finished the day 4-for-4 with a triple and 15 total bases. His two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth capped the 12-2 triumph. He batted .526 (10-for-19) with three doubles, a triple, four homers, and 11 RBI in five games during the tournament.
Kiyomiya, meanwhile, allowed only a Brock Myers solo home run with one out in the fourth that broke up his no-hit bid. It was Myers’ World Series-best fifth home run.
Kiyomiya and Osaka were quick to compliment each other on their efforts.
“This game I did a very good job,” Kiyomiya said. “But I have to thank Osaka.”
“Out pitching staff did really well,” Osaka rebutted. “Kiyomiya did a good job pitching.”
Japan jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first. Kiyomiya singled home Osaka, who led off the inning with a triple to the right-field corner. Two singles later, Rintaro Hirano was hit by a pitch to force in a run.
Osaka extended the lead to 3-0 in the second inning with a solo home run, taking the first pitch he saw from Justin Smith over the fence in left-centerfield.
Yuta Ishida made it 5-0 in the third with a two-run homer to center, taking an 0-2 offering from Smith halfway up the first hill.
Japan tacked on five more runs in the fifth, getting Osaka’s second solo homer and a two-run shot from Hirano. Both blasts came off Blake Osborne.
Tennessee was making its first title game appearance in five trips to South Williamsport. No team from the Volunteer State had ever made this far in the World Series.
“We get home and it’s going to be a carnival,” said Tennessee manager Joey Hale. “There’s a long list of things we got to do when we get back.”
Tennessee played the World Series title game one day after its dramatic 24-16 victory over California in the United States Championship. The Goodlettsville All-Stars blew a 10-run lead in the bottom of the sixth before scoring nine times in the seventh to win it.
Tennessee second baseman Lorenzo Butler hit three home runs in the U.S. title game and wrapped up his Series with a solo homer in the fifth off Osaka that made it 10-2.
“I think we’ll be remembered more for that game,” Hale said. “They showed a lot of heart, character and determination, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Kitasuna Little League’s title game appearance was the third in a row for Japan. A team from Hamamatsu City last year lost to a squad from Huntington Beach, Calif. on Championship Sunday.