Sato Says ‘No-No’
A No-Hitter, 10
Strikeouts, and a Barrage of Hits lead Japan to an 11-0 win over
Russia in five innings
By Brandon Miller
City Little League pitcher Ryoya Sato recorded 10 strikeouts in five
innings on his way to no-hitting Brateevo Little League from Moscow,
Russia in an 11-0 win at Little League Volunteer Stadium.
Sato’s no-hitter came in front of a crowd of 8,316 in game one of
Pool D play. All afternoon, Sato held the Russian bats in check with
his steady fastball and slow curve.
“That was a good curveball today,” said Russian coach Andrey
“(Sato) was pretty consistent. His curveball was on and there were
no surprises, which was good,” said Japanese manager Shigeru Hidaka
through interpreter Bill Lundy.
Sato’s only trouble came in the bottom of the second where a one-out
walk to Nikita Lebedev was followed by a wild pitch that sent him to
second. A strikeout later and it looked like Sato would get out of
the inning unscathed, but a walk and stolen base followed by another
wild pitch put runners on second and third. Sato though was able to
get Mikail Novozhilov to strike out on a pitch in the dirt to end
“(Sato) was mentally prepared for today,” said Japan manager Hidaka.
“He went over everything in his mind before the game.”
“I had confidence going into (the game),” said Sato. “I knew my
curveball was on.”
After giving up only two runs in their past eight games of World
Series-qualifying play and returning six players from their Little
League Baseball World Series roster last year, confidence was high
in the Russian team’s dugout prior to the game.
“We were pretty confident, but knew there would be better players
here,” said Coach Tselykovski.
In addition to Sato’s brilliance on the mound, Japan’s bats got off
to a quick start, knocking three consecutive singles to plate a run
in the top of the first. The final hit coming from Go Matsumoto,
before Russian pitcher Dmitry Semenov was able to shut the door with
two strikeouts and a foul pop to third to end the inning.
The breakout inning was the top of the third, when Matsumoto started
things off with a sharp single to left, followed by two more singles
that plated Matsumoto on a close play at the plate. With runners at
second and third and nobody out, pinch hitter Jin Ohkuma homered for
Ohkuma, whom teammates call ‘movie star’ due to his role in the
‘building blocks’ segment on ESPN filmed with former major leaguer
Orestes Destrades, said he was “very happy not only for myself, but
for the whole team.”
“I was a little nervous (at the start of the game), but after Jin’s
home run everything started coming together” said Hidaka.
© 2006, Little League Baseball
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