Source: South Williamsport, Pa.
Date/Time: Tuesday, August 23, 2011, 4:00pm ET
Canada was ready for Japan’s bunts, its pitching, its typically aggressive base running.
What the Langley Little Leaguers weren’t ready for was a Hamamatsu Minami team that could – and would, to the tune of 4-0 – beat them with bigger bats, as Japan used doubles and triples to eliminate Canada from the 2011 Little League Baseball World Series Tuesday afternoon at Howard J. Lamade Stadium.
With no score, a runner on first and two out in the top of the third, Japan’s Ken Igeta, Yoshiki Suzuki and Taiga Iwamoto strung together three-consecutive extra-base hits to bring home three runs.
Canada coach Jason Andrews credited Japan’s third-frame offensive surge to the fact that starting pitcher Cole Cantelon had abandoned his curveball after losing the handle on the pitch.
“He lost control of his curveball… I’d call it and he wouldn’t want to get to it,” Andrews said. “He gave up on the curveball and was shaking it off. They were sitting on the straight stuff, fastballs and changeups.”
With no movement on the ball, Japan was able to adhere to manager Akihiro Suzuki’s game plan.
“Canada was ready for what [we] do, which is bunt,” Suzuki said through interpreter Kotaro Omori. “[Canada’s] infield was ready for bunting so we were prepared to get big hits.”
And big hits they got. Four of Canada’s seven hits—two doubles and two triples—were for extra bases, and all four drove in a run with two outs in the inning.
Andrews looks at the game as a much closer contest than the scoreboard would indicate.
“We played fairly even with Japan,” he said. “We get rid of that [third] inning and [Cantelon] has control of his curveball… The kids are actually very upbeat, they played their butts off.”
Japan starting pitchers Shoto Totsuka (two innings), Hiroyasu Sugiura (2.1) and Takuya Okamoto (1.2) combined to allow five hits and strike out eight in six innings.
Japan will play the loser of Wednesday’s Latin America and Mexico matchup Thursday at 4:00 p.m.