Japan Hot Despite Cold
Japan advances to semi-final round with win over
By Andrew Schimmel
three-day break in the action had little effect on the Tokyo
Kitasuna All-Stars from Japan. In fact, it had no effect.
The Japan region champs posted a 7-1 win over Canada on Tuesday,
assuring themselves of a spot in one of Thursday’s international
semifinals. After a 10-3 win over Curacao on Friday, Japan took two
scheduled offdays before rain forced Monday’s game with Canada to
It was worth the wait for Japan starter Ryo Ogawa, who tossed
five-plus innings of one-run, two-hit ball.
“That kid throws hard and it took us a little bit to catch up to
him,” said Canada coach Scott Smith. “He’s got a good variety of
pitches, he’s got a good curveball and he mixed it up. They like to
work the plate, inside and outside.”
Junsho Kiuchi snapped a scoreless tie in the bottom of the second
with a line-drive two-run homer that just cleared the centerfield
wall of Lamade Stadium.
“I didn’t think it was a home run,” admitted Kiuchi through
translator Yuichi Ishibashi. “After I recognized it was a home run I
was really happy.”
After striking out the Canadian side in the first, Ogawa walked two
of the first three batters he faced in the second, but rallied to
strike out two in a row to end the threat.
Ogawa helped his own cause by driving in a pair of insurance runs in
the bottom half of the fifth with a bloop single to center. Yasuda
followed Ogawa’s hit with a run-scoring single of his own.
In the top of the sixth, Ogawa allowed a lead-off single to Jeff
Kavanagh, and was pulled in favor of Go Matsumori. Matsumori struck
out Jackson Temple before allowing a pair of hits to load the bases.
He then surrendered a run-scoring fielder’s choice groundout to
Jordan Emmerman before striking out Tanner Sandstrom to end it.
Canada, which lost for the first time in 24 all-star tournament
games, is still alive to advance out of pool play. The White Rock,
British Columbia All-Stars will square off against Curacao on
Wednesday in a win-and-you’re-in game.
© 2007, Little League Baseball
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