2012 Little League Baseball World Series
Williamsport, Pennsylvania - August 16 - 26

Game 23: Japan 4 vs. Latin America 1

Japan Advances to International Championship Game

Author: Samantha Ciccocioppo

Source: South Williamsport, Pa.

Date/Time: Wednesday, August 22, 4:00pm ET

With a berth in the Little League World Series international championship game on the line, Tokyo, Japan, used its offense and pitching to down Latin America champions Aguadulce, Panama, 4-1, on Wednesday at Lamade Stadium.

Latin America drops into the losers' bracket and faces Mexico champion Nuevo Laredo, Tamauplipis, on Thursday.

Japan jumped ahead in the first inning by posting three runs on the board.The first run was quite a surprise for the fans sitting just north of center field on the hill when Kotaro Kiyomiya slammed one right to them, connecting on the 2-run home run. Shun Oshima followed shortly thereafter with another one out of the park.

“As soon as I hit the ball I didn’t realize it was a home run”, said Kiyomiya, “so that’s why I didn’t run very fast, I ran slowly around the bases.”

By Kiyomiya’s count, he has hit 130 home runs this season including both regular season Little League games and practice games. Not only that, but Kiyomiya has kept each one of his home run balls from this season and those past.

Both teams fended off the competition with the help of their defensive players in the field and pitchers, Ryuji Osada of Japan and Jilo Goff and James Gonzalez of Latin America.

“At first I was a little nervous, but after that I could throw the pitch very well for myself,” said Osada

Latin America got on the board in the top of the fifth inning with an RBI double by Daniel Cruz, bringing in Edwin Nieto.

Japan added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth with a line drive RBI triple into left field by Oshima, driving in Danji Takahashi, for the final run, 4-1.

With one inning left, Japan brought in pitcher Noriatsu Osaka who shut down Latin America to escape with the win.