Game 16
Asia 6
 vs. Mexico 1

Monday, August 21, 2006
1:00PM ET

Japan Powers Way to Win Over Mexico
Second Three-Homer Game Propels Japan to 2-0 Record

By Mark Rogoff
Special Correspondent

Only one team at the 60th Little League Baseball World Series has hit three home runs in a game. Only one other team has even hit two.

The Kawaguchi, Japan All-Stars belted three homers in their pool-play opener against Russia on Saturday. The story was no different on Monday versus Mexico. Only this time, all three came in the same inning.

Ryota Koike, Seigo Yada and Naruto Fukuyama all homered in the third inning, as Japan used five runs in the frame to break open a 1-1 ballgame and post a win 6-1 over Mexico in front of 5,100 at Little League Volunteer Stadium.

Japan improves to 2-0, while Mexico falls to 2-1.

“That third inning was definitely a key point for us,” Japan manager Shigeru Hidaka said through interpreter Bill Lundy. “This team all year always has that key point in the game when we gather together and have a great run of things.”

Koike and Yada hit back-to-back shots to lead off the third. After a pair of singles by Kohsuke Murata and Go Matsumoto, Mexico manager Candelario Perez removed starter Jose Segoviano from the game and called on Javier Garcia to face Fukuyama. Fukuyama blasted the first pitch he saw deep over the center field wall.

“They changed pitchers at that point so I just got to see a few pitches,” Fukuyama said. “I had a nice one come in that I liked, and as soon as I hit it I knew it was going to be a home run. I’m very excited about it for me and my whole team.”

On the mound, Yada’s lone mistake was allowing a first-inning solo homer to Segoviano. Yada gave up just three hits the rest of the way, retiring 11 of the last 12 batters he faced. He struck out six in a row at one point, fanning the side in both the fourth and fifth innings.

“I just started off kind of nervous,” admitted Yada. “It wasn’t quite my normal pitching. The first and second innings threw me off a little bit. I am very glad to have been able to pitch as well as I did for the entire game against such a good team as Mexico.”

Japan tied the score at 1-1 in the second, when Fukuyama scored from third on a wild pitch. Fukuyama had led off the inning with a walk.


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