Thank heaven for
7, and 17
Japan’s 7-run first enough in rout of Saudi Arabia
By Mark Rogoff
Japan didn’t need
any luck Tuesday afternoon in its final pool game against Saudi
the Asia Regional champs scored a lucky 7 in the first inning of their
17-0 win over Saudi Arabia, they kept any luck they might have needed
in their shirt pockets, stored away for possible future use.
Japan followed its big first inning with 4
runs in the 2nd, 3 in the 3rd, and 3 more in the 4th, all the result
of 17 hits, including 5 home runs.
“It was great to get so many runs,” said
Japan head coach Masumi Ohmae through interpreter Bill Lundy. “They’ve
been a good hitting team all year long.”
Shigeki Umeda and
Hirofumi Yamazaki each hit 2 home runs for the Tokyo tots. Toshiki
Maebashi hit the other.
“I didn’t think I was capable of (hitting
2 home runs),” Umeda said through the interpreter. “It wasn’t in my
Responded Yamazaki: “I thought I was capable.”
Despite the offensive outbreak, Japan
didn’t even come close to the World Series record for most runs scored
in a game. An All-Star team from the Dominican Republic in 1992 scored
29 runs to beat a club from Quebec, Canada.
pitchers combined for the 4-inning no-hitter. Umeda tossed the first,
Masato Komuro the 2nd, Ippei Endoh the 3rd, and Yuutaro Tanaka the
League game officials gave the win to Momuro.
“I long ago decided that if we went up a
lot of runs, we would rotate the pitchers so they would all be
available for the next game,” Ohmae said.
The Saudi Little Leaguers put the ball in
play, striking out just 4 times in their combined 12 at-bats. They
just couldn’t find the holes.
“It’s hard to say what you did wrong,”
said Transatlantic skipper Phillip Warren. “We knew they were going be
a tough team. It looked like it was batting practice for them.
“Where’s the rain
when you need it?”
With the win, Asia clinches first place in
Pool D, and will take on Mexico in Wednesday night’s International