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Japan finishes as 3rd best team at LLWS

A closer look at Chofu Little League of Chofu City, Japan’s 5-0 win over Central East Maui Little League of Wailuku, Hawaii, at Lamade Stadium on Sunday in the third-place consolation game.

PLAY OF THE GAME: Hawaii’s sixth inning — With the bases loaded and no outs, Duke Aloy stepped in looking to get Hawaii on the board down 5-0. Aloy slapped grounder to third, Yuto Misaki fielded the ball, stepped on third and threw down to home to get the lead runner and prevent Hawaii from scoring. Yuto Kakeba then got Nicholas Nashiwa to strike out looking on three pitches to end the game.

JAPAN PLAYER OF THE GAME: Yuto Misaki — The Japan starting picher threw his heart out to get his team the third-place win. Misaki went five innings, did not allow a run and he scattered six Hawaii hits, throwing 10 strikeouts. Misaki made the most of the fourth inning when the first two batters singled. Misaki got a fielder’s choice ground out for the first out in the inning. Then, with runners on the corner, got a strikeout before loading the bases with a walk. Misaki came back to get pinch hitter Nicholas Nashiwa to strikeout on three pitches to end the inning.

HAWAII PLAYER OF THE GAME: Nakea Kahalehau — The starting first baseman was the highlight of the West offense with two of Hawaii’s six hits. Both hits could have been key rally starters in the fourth and sixth inning. Kahalehau singled, but was thrown out at second on a fielder’s choice. Kahalehau started the sixth inning with another single up the middle and moved around to third before getting caught up in a third-to-home double play. Kahalehau finished his tournament with a .412 batting average (7-18) and scored five times in five games for Hawaii.

BIG INNING: Japan’s first — Japan jumped out to a 3-0 lead in its home half of the inning, getting six batters to the plate. Jo Nishizawa doubled to lead off, Ryohei Ushikubo laid down a bunt single before Daiki Kobari scored Nishizawa on a ground rule double over the right field fence. Yuto Kakeba and Yuto Misaki both had RBI ground outs and Ritsu Nishikawa ended the inning with a hard liner at the third baseman, Jaren Pascual.

WHAT THE ADULTS SAY: “The ball just wasn’t bouncing our way and that’s how baseball goes. The experience is very humbling, it’s spectacular to be here. It is unbelievable. We made history being the first Maui team to ever get here, it is a great accomplishment to these kids,” Hawaii manager Brad Lung said.

“We told the players (Saturday) we started coming back at the end of the game. Let’s continue that right away today,” Japan manager Koji Yamashita said through a translator.

WHAT THE KIDS SAY: “I will take this experience back to the younger Chofu Little League players back home and go over my experience with them and hopefully they can get here one day,” Japan team captain, Daiki Kobari said.

WHAT IT MEANS: Japan finished third at the Little League World Series and Hawaii ends its summer as the fourth-best team in the tournament.

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