Game 4
Asia 11
 vs. EMEA

Saturday, August 19, 2006
11:00AM ET

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
Special Correspondent

Kawaguchi 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 Tselykovski.

“(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 the inning.

“(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 a 5-0.

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.


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