Japan Wins First Ever Little League® Intermediate (50/70) Baseball World Series Title
Sporting a tournament record of 3-0 and heading into the Little League® Intermediate (50/70) Baseball World Series Championship Game, Izumisano Little League from Osaka, Japan, the Asia-Pacific Region Champion, had outscored their opponents 41-3 and was going to be tough to beat. In the end, they were.
Behind the pitching of Taisei Shimabe, Japan went on to beat East Region Champion, Collier Township (Pa.)/Chartiers Valley Little League, 10-1 at Max Baer Park in Livermore, Calif., capturing the first ever Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball World Series banner.
Launched earlier this year, the Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball Division is Little Leagues first new division since 1999. With a 50-foot pitching distance and 70-foot base paths, the new division bridges the transition from Little League (46/60) to Junior League Baseball on a full-size field (60/90). It is a division for 11- to 13-year-olds whose advanced skills permit rules that are closer to conventional baseball, such as leading off bases and pickoff attempts. With nearly 2,500 teams participating in the Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball Division this year, the season culminated with 10 teams participating in this inaugural international tournament, one of nine World Series organized this year.
Asia-Pacific Region Champions, Izumisano Little League from Osaka, Japan celebrate winning the first ever Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball World Series banner.
Naoya Murano started off the inning for Japan, launching a single into center field and advancing to second on a steal. Shogo Shirakawa was then walked, which allowed Ten Tanaka to bunt himself on and load the bases.
With the bases loaded, Ryota Tanaka would come through in the clutch, notching a single and driving in two runs, bringing Japan’s lead to 3-0. Then, with the score 4-0, Kousei Kanaya roped a single to right field, which scored another two runs. Shinta Usami followed up Kanaya’s hit with an RBI double to left, bringing the score to 7-0. When Pennsylvania was able to record the final out of the inning, Japan’s lead had ballooned to 8-0.
In the top of the sixth, Japan’s Kanaya was able to reach third, and then score on a ground out by Usami. However, Japan wasn’t finished scoring, as they would add one more insurance run in the very next inning. With one out, Shirakawa advanced to second on a hit into right field, and then scored when the very next batter, Taito Kosaka, doubled to center field.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Pennsylvania managed to get one run back when Hunter Gordon hit an RBI single that scored Ian Hess, but that would be all. Shimabe would finish the game, and put his stamp on what was a dominant performance overall, clinching the Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball World Series title in front of a crowd of 6,500 fans.
For the game, Shimabe only allowed five hits while striking out six Pennsylvania batters. Kanaya and Usami led the RBI party for Japan, each notching two, while Nagiru Hiramatsu chipped in with one RBI. At the inaugural Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball World Series, Izumisano Little League from Osaka, Japan, certainly left their mark on it, going undefeated all the way up to and including the championship game.