Source: South Williamsport, Pa.
Date/Time: Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012, 1:00pm ET
In the opening game of the Little League World Series, Tokyo, Japan utilized dominant pitching and early offense to earn a dominant 7-0 victory over Caribbean champion, Willemstad, Curacao.
According to coach Yoichi Kubo, the baseballs the players use in the Japan Little League are different than the baseballs used in the United States. That didn’t seem to matter to pitchers Kotaro Kiyomiya and Noriatsu Osaka, however.
Kiyomiya and Osaka combined to pitch six shutout innings. Kiyomiya, the starting pitcher, allowed no hits while striking out seven batters. Osaka, who came in for Kiyomiya in the third inning, only allowed one hit while also striking out seven batters.
It would be the direct opposite for the Caribbean pitchers in the early going. Japan scored six runs in the first two innings, all off Caribbean pitcher Christopher Koeiman.
“They hit him good,” Caribbean coach Edmiro Chirino said.
With a 1-0 lead in the first inning and runners on second and third, Ryuji Osada advanced to second on a swinging strike call in which the catcher dropped the pitch on strike three, scoring two runs and increasing Japan’s lead to 3-0.
In the bottom half of the second and Japan leading 4-0, Osaka came to bat with the bases loaded and no outs. He came through in the clutch, hitting a shot into the outfield but was thrown out on the play. Two runs would score on the play, giving Japan a 6-0 lead. Japan added one more run in the bottom of the fifth inning.
With the kind of performance Kiyomiya gave, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him starting Japan’s next game as well. When asked if that would be the case, coach Kubo said, “for sure.”Japan's pitchers could provide it with talent to make a run in the days to come.
The next game for Japan isn't until Sunday, when they face the winner of Thursday's Europe/Asia-Pacific game.