Aberdeen, Md. – Jun Young Ha both hit and pitched well for Korea, but it wasn’t enough as Korea fell just short, losing to Japan 7-6 at Cal Sr.’s Yard on Saturday night.
Tomoya Koike paced Japan at the plate, going 2-3, driving in one and scoring two runs. He also singled in the first and second innings.
Hiroki Matsumoto worked out of several difficult moments for Japan, pitching 3 2/3 innings in relief, allowing no earned runs on one hit. Japan’s starter, Yuto Anzai, was relieved after giving up two hits and two runs in the first inning.
Matsumoto faced his toughest situation in the sixth inning, when Korea rallied to tie the game at 6 runs apiece.
Kaito Yoshida came to the plate for Japan in the bottom of the sixth and led off with a quick single. He advanced to second on a balk by Korean pitcher Gun Woo Lim and then advanced to third on a wild pitch.
Two pitches later, the ball got away from the Korean battery again, Yoshida sprinted home to score the winning run and seal Japan’s return trip to the World Championship game on Sunday.
Watch Japan try to defend it’s title against the State Champions from Maryland at Cal Sr.’s Yard on Sunday at 2pm. Or watch the game at home on CBS Sports Network.