Japan advances with shutout win
Here is a closer look at Chofu City, Tokyo’s 5-0 win over Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon on Sunday at Volunteer Stadium.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Pitcher Yuto Kakeba was dominant on the mound, but also with the bat as he drilled a leadoff second-inning home run to put Japan up 1-0 and they would not look back.
MEXICO PLAYER OF THE GAME: Center fielder Ivan Sauceda had himself a good day at the plate going 2 for 2, collecting two-thirds of the hits Mexico had.
JAPAN PLAYER OF THE GAME: Pitcher Yuto Kakeba had himself an all-around type of day as he was 2 for 3 at the plate with a home run and also pitched 3 1/3 innings, striking out six and not allowing a run to score. He was also able to stay at 50 pitches, meaning he is eligible to pitch on Japan’s next day.
BIG INNING: Japan broke the game completely open in the third inning, scoring four runs and building up a 5-0 lead. It started off with a walk and back-to-back errors then led to a run coming to the plate to make it 2-0. A wild pitch would score the third run and a big double by Daiki Kobario brought in the fourth run. Two batters later, pinch hitter Rikuto Doi hit a single that drove in the fifth run and made it a 5-0 game.
BEST EFFORT: After a single by Ivan Sauceda, Angel Castillo hit a hard hit ball to Japan shortstop Kazuhiro Kishikawa who back-handed it and turned a double play to get out of the inning.
FLASHING LEATHER: Outside of the Japan defense Mexico center fielder Ivan Sauceda made an over-the-head running catch in center to get out of the inning without giving up any runs and kept the game still within reach.
HOME RUNS: Japan pitcher Yuto Kakeba hit a home run in the second inning to left center field that was a complete no-doubter as soon as it left the bat.
WHAT THE ADULTS SAY: “We need to play better to win and not make errors in the field” said Mexico coach Alejandro Garza said.
WHAT THE KIDS SAY: There were no kids available to speak with media after the game.
WHAT IT MEANS: Japan advances to the winners’ bracket final against South Korea on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Lamade Stadium. Mexico will play Venezuela at Volunteer Stadium today at 1 p.m.