Pernetti powers USA past Japan in ISF Junior Men’s World Championship

Written by Bob on July 15th, 2014

USASoftball

WHITEHORSE, YUKON, CA – When runners get on base, it’s the clean up batter’s job to drive them in.

Job well done Jim Pernetti.

Batting in the number four spot, the right-side power-hitter blasted a two-run homer in the first inning, and drove in two more runs with a bases-loaded single to center in the fourth.

Pernetti accounted for all Team USA’s runs as the Americans held off Japan 4-2 in the fifth day of the ISF Junior Men’s World Championship, Tuesday.

While Pernetti fueled the offense, Phil Zimmerman was again the workhorse in the circle. The right-hander held Japan to two earned runs on seven hits, two walks, along with six strikeouts.

The only batter causing Zimmerman trouble was Okazaki Kento, who hit a two-run homer in the fourth to tie the game, and was a perfect 3 for 3 at the plate.

Other than Kento, the rest of Japan’s line-up managed just four singles spread among four batters.

However, Japan did threaten three times in the ball game. But Zimmerman and the defense found a way to escape trouble.

In the second inning with one out and a runner at third, Zimmerman got a ground ball and strikeout to end the threat.

But the fourth inning was the real challenge.

After Kento’s home run, Japan loaded the bases with one out, but Zimmerman toughened by getting a popup to Tyler Stoffel at shortstop, and a ground ball to Daniel Centeno at first base.

Then in the sixth, Stoffel made the play-of-the game.

With runners at first and second, Taguchi Hideo laced a hard hit ground ball into the hole headed for left field. But Stoffel dove to his right, gloved the ball and fired to Pernetti at third, who tagged out the runner sliding by the bag to end the inning.

Zimmerman’s latest outing puts him among the tournament’s leading pitchers with a 3-2 record over 31 innings, with 33 strikeouts, 14 walks, and a 3.38 ERA.

But this was his best game. Because a lot was riding on it.

With the win, Team USA pulls even with Japan at 4-2, tied for third on the leaderboard. Japan started the day at 4-0, but also lost earlier to New Zealand, 2-1.

Both teams trail No. 1 Argentina (6-0), and No. 2 New Zealand (5-1).

For Team USA, Pernetti was 2 for 2, 4 RBI; Bryce DuCharme 1 for 3, Ryan Barnes 1 for 2, and Peyton Hall 1 for 2.

Japan was led by Kento 3 for 3, 2 RBI; Une Ryoyu 1 for 4, Kinjo Haruki 1 for 4, Kajihara Kazuki 1 for 2, and Hino Shunichi 1 for 3.

Iwamatsu Ukon started for Japan, went three innings, allowing two earned runs on two hits with five strikeouts.

Sakurada Yukiya pitched the final three innings giving up three hits, two earned runs with three strikeouts and a walk.

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