Oh me, Ohmae!!!
Ohmae family all pitch in for Japan’s second win
By David Graham-Caso
Four of the last
five Little League World Series championship games have involved a
team from Japan.
champion, the Musashi-Fuchu Little League of Tokyo is the odds-on
favorite to again represent the International division in the
championship game. In their first pool-play game, Japan beat up on
perennial contender, Curacao, and in Monday’s evening showdown against
Canada, again showed why they are the team to beat.
“I think we can win all of our games,”
said Japan manager Masumi Ohmae through an interpreter.
The manager, whose daughter is assistant
coach Mana Omae and whose son is second baseman Takeru Ohmae, was
pleased with how his team played in their 7-0 win.
“We were nervous in the first game because
it was the first game,” the skipper said. “But we calmed down tonight
and hit the ball well.”
Japan scored seven runs, which was enough
for their impeccable defense and stellar pitching by Hirofumi
Yamazaki. Yamazaki struck out the first batter and the last batter of
the game, accounting for two of his 10 strikeouts.
“That pitcher was good,” said Canada
manager Henery Boutillier. “You can tell how much his speed hurt us by
how much we struck out.”
“I just tried to
keep control of the ball,” Yamazaki said through an interpreter. “I
did not want to give them anything that they could hit.”
Japan’s runs came mostly from the top of
the order. Leadoff man Hokuto Nakahara came home in the first inning
on a Shigeki Umeda single up the middle, and then scored on a passed
ball in the fifth. Nakahara’s RBI single drove in the second of the
the other Tokyo runs came off solo homers, one by Umeda in the fourth
and another towering drive by Jun Onozawa in the sixth.
“It felt good,” Umeda
said of his dinger. “I could feel that it was going to be a homerun as
soon as it left the bat.”
Japan would add two more runs in the sixth
to cap off the scoring.
Japan, now 2-0, is automatically qualified
for a spot in the elimination round of the tournament. That is not to
say they will not concentrate on their next game, to be played against
Saudi Arabia Tuesday at 1 p.m.
“We are going to try and win,” said
manager Ohmae. “We always want to win.”