When looking at the games Japan has played so far at the Little League Baseball World Series, it's easy to focus on the offense.
And after Japan defeated Panama, 10-2, to advance to today's championship game, it's extremely hard to focus on anything but the offense.
Led by its star Kotaro Kiyomiya, Japan hit five home runs - two by Kiyomiya - and cruised to the championship game.
And even though the offense has been what many notice, Japan's pitching is what has gotten the team to this point.
"The pitching rotation is doing well so far," Japan coach Junji Hidaka said through an interpreter. "The pitchers have done well, but we gave Panama the two runs today and the other run in the first game."
Panama is the only team to score against Japan in its four games. Panama scrapped across one run in a 4-1 loss on Wednesday before scoring twice in Saturday's elimination game.
Despite scoring twice, Panama was dominated by a potent combination of Yuta Ishida, Shun Oshima, Noriatsu Osaka and Hajime Motegi.
The quartet struck out 12 batters, while scattering six hits and walking just one.
"It was a difficult game," Panama manager Luis Gonzalez said. "Japan has very good pitching. We did what we can."
Twice Panama has run into the buzzsaw that is Japan's starting pitching. In 27 innings of work so far in the tournament, six pitchers have combined to strike out 50 batters while allowing just 16 hits, four walks and three runs.
Japan has gotten incredible innings from six pitchers, but also has multiple pitchers who can throw at least 70 mph. Ishida and Osaka, both of whom faced Panama on Saturday, can touch 71 mph while the ace, Kiyomiya, has hit 80.
"The Japanese pitching is the best here at the tournament," Gonzalez said after the loss on Saturday. "That's why we struck out a lot. That Japanese team is going to be the world champion this year."
The scariest part about Japan's pitching is that Kiyomiya, who could very well be the best pitcher in the tournament, only has faced nine batters. Kiyomiya started the first game for Japan against Caribbean champ Curacao and struck out seven of the nine batters he faced while touching 80 mph.
Even though Panama lost both games it played against Japan, it never had to face Kiyomiya. The same can't be said for the winner of the United States side of the bracket.
"For the next game, we will use No. 27 (Kiyomiya) and No. 10 (Osaka)," Hidaka said. "Kiyomiya will get the start."
Even if the U.S. bracket winner makes its way past Kiyomiya, Osaka also is outstanding. Osaka has pitched eight total innings in four relief appearances, striking out 15 batters while allowing just four hits and no runs.
His fourth relief appearance on Saturday lasted just 19 pitches in order for him to remain eligible to pitch today, making the U.S. bracket winner's day at the plate a tough one.
With Kiyomiya and Osaka scheduled to pitch, along with what seems to be an endless list of quality pitchers, it's going to be an uphill battle for the U.S. offense, regardless of who throws for Japan.