Both teams were strong on the pitcher’s mound on Thursday afternoon, but Japan was just a little bit stronger at the plate in a 1-0 victory over Caribbean Region Champions Radames Lopez Little League.
The Little Leaguers from Kawaguchi, Japan, are one win away from the opportunity to defend its country’s World Series Championship. To have the chance to repeat, Japan will first need to avenge a 10-0 defeat at the hands of the Asia-Pacific Region Champions from South Korea, South Seoul Little League. The two teams will meet Saturday for the International Championship on Lamade Stadium at 12:30 p.m.
In the win over Puerto Rico, the Japan Region champs tallied the lone run of the game in the third inning after lead-off batter Masaumi Ikeuchi reached safely and scored on a wild pitch throw by Caribbean starter John Lopez. For the game, Lopez recorded 18 outs.
Masato Igarashi led the Japan to victory on the hill. He went 3 2/3 innings, allowing zero runs on three hits, striking out five, and walking one. Shisei Fujimoto threw 2 2/3 innings in relief. Shisei recorded the last seven outs to earn the save for Japan.
Lopez took the loss for Caribbean. He surrendered one run on three hits over six innings, striking out eight and walking zero.
The team from Guayama, PR, conclude the World Series tournament with a record of 2-2; while Japan, the defending World Series champion, advances to face Asia-Pacific for the right to play on Sunday for the World Championship.
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