Say is ain’t Satoh!
Three different players homered in the Little League World Series opener for the team from Sendai, Japan.
Those few big swings were all that pitcher Yoshinori Satoh needed for the victory.
Satoh was near flawless. The pitcher was two walks away from throwing the fourth perfect game in Little League World Series history. Instead, he threw the first no-hitter since 1993. Satoh struck out 10 in his no-hit masterpiece.
“I think that I pitched very well today. Even for myself, I think I pitched well,” Satoh said through an interpreter.
As brilliant as Satoh was on the hill, Yoosuke Katah was equally as remarkable at the plate. With a runner on second in the top of the first inning, Katah bounced a ball off the top of the center field fence. The ball bounced over the wall, giving Japan the early 2-0 lead.
“I was not sure that it was going to be a home run when I hit it,” Katah said through an interpreter. “It surprised me when I saw it bounce and go over.”
Katah knocked his second home run of the game in the third inning. The solo shot gave Satoh all of the run support that he needed.
“I knew that one was gone the moment it left my bat,” Katah added.
“Of course I was very pleased with how we played today,” said Japanese manager Kazutomo Takahashi through and interpreter. “Yoshinori is not usually a stamina pitcher, so having him pitch the entire game was a nice bonus.”
Uncharacteristic errors kept the Moscow team from holding Japan close.
“The errors were very rare for us, we do not usually make those errors,” Russian manager Vladimir Eltchninov said. “We knew that we were facing a tough team. Japan always has good teams in this tournament.”
Japan looks to continue its dominance at 5 p.m. Monday against Mexico. The Russian team faces Mexico at 8 p.m on Sunday.