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Teamwork Lifts Japan To 7-3 Victory Over Europe And Africa
By Brenna Urban
Game Attendance: 5,640
Tokyo, Japan, beat Brno, Czech Republic, 7-3 in six innings Friday evening at Volunteer Stadium, notching the team’s first win in the 2013 Little League Baseball® World Series.
Kazuki Ishida doubled and homered, contributing to Japan’s stellar offense. Ishida also pitched the first inning for Japan, recording two strikeouts, no walks and no runs scored.
Ishida’s line-drive double to center field started off Japan’s offense in the first inning. Shortly after, Shou Miyao hit an RBI single, and Kyousuke Kobayashi hit a two-run double for an early Japan lead of 3-0.
“It was a really fun game and I was proud of my stats,” said Miyao.
Japan’s Ishida, Shunpei Takagi, Miyao and Kobayashi combined for nine hits and six RBIs throughout five innings of play.
Europe & Africa responded to Japan’s early 6-0 lead with a big third inning. Tomas Jurcik walked to start the inning, followed by a homer to left field by Daniel Stoudek.
Europe and Africa’s defense allowed no runs scored during the third and fourth innings, with phenomenal pitching from Lukas Hlouch.
Japan’s manager Masumi Omae used his bullpen in an unconventional way to win the game. There was a new pitcher on the mound every single inning to give all of the players a taste of what it feels like to pitch in a Little League Baseball World Series game.
“We want all the players to experience the mound, so hopefully in future games they will be more prepared,” said Omae.
Ishida, Kobayashi, Keita Saito, Tatsuki Nagano, Seiya Nishino and Ryutarro Takeo all took the mound for Japan and gave only up three hits and two runs combined.
Japan’s sixth pitcher of the evening, Takeo, held off Europe & Africa in the top of the sixth inning to clinch the team’s first win of the series.
This was Czech Republic’s first appearance in the 67-year history of the Little League Baseball World Series, representing the region of Europe and Africa.
Europe and Africa’s manager, Jan Gregor, explained that the nerves started to wear off for his players during the third inning.
“The pressure started to die down early in the game. It has been awhile since these kids have played together, the last time was in the regional qualifying games,” said Gregor.
Europe and Africa will play Canada on Saturday at 6 p.m., and Japan will face Asia-Pacific on Sunday night at 7 p.m. Both games will take place on Volunteer Stadium.