Japan knocks out Australia in ISF Junior Men’s World Championship playoffs

Written by Bob on July 20th, 2014

WHITEHORSE, YUKON, CA –Kento Okazaki is one of the best pitchers in the ISF Junior Men’s World Championship. Give him a couple runs and Japan has a good chance of winning. Give him a couple of touchdowns and it’s guaranteed.

The Japanese batters did just that, supporting Okazaki with eight runs in the first two innings and another four in the sixth as Japan went on to run-rule Australia 12-3 in the first medal-round game of the ISF Junior Men’s World Championship, Saturday.

The win advances No. 3 seeded Japan (7-3) into Sunday’s Bronze medal game where they will face off with Argentina (9-1), who lost for the first time in the tournament, 3-1, to New Zealand (9-1) in the second semi-final.

The winner will advance into the Gold medal game against New Zealand at 4 p.m. Australia (6-4) leaves the tournament in fourth place.

Japan wasted little time in dominating Australia by collecting three runs on four hits off Aussie starter Jerremyah Selu (2-2) in the first inning. Selu was pulled with one out in the inning and that led to a parade of three relievers trying to stop Japan’s potent offense.

But to no avail as Japan pounded out 12 hits with nine of the runs earned.

Haruki Kinjo (1 for 3, 2 runs, 2 RBI) drove in a pair of runs in the first inning; Hideo Morita (1 for 1, 2 runs, 2 RBI) had a two-run double in the second; and Okazaki (2 for 3, run, 2 RBI) helped himself with a two-run single in the sixth.

The win improves Okazaki’s record to 5-1. The right-hander struck out nine Aussies, gave up two earned runs on seven hits and no walks. In 33 innings, he has walked eight and struck out 45.

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