12U BWC: Japan needs Walk-Off in Extras to hold off Italy
Japan beat Italy 4-3 in eight innings thanks to Shota Sawamura’s single

Tien-Mou/Taipei City. Japan needed a walk-off RBI single by Shota Sawamura with two outs in the bottom of the eighth to beat Italy 4-3 on Sunday morning at Tien-Mou Stadium. Italy had tied the game on a pair of wild pitched in the top of the sixth, forcing extra innings. Japan improved to 4-0 in the II 12U Baseball World Cup, while Italy dropped to 1-2.

Fresh coming off a victory over Chinese Taipei to move into sole possession for first place in the Group A standings, Japan had more troubles then expected with Italy. They took a 3-0 lead with three runs in the third. A wild pitch broke the scoreless tie. RBI singles by Taiyo Ueda and Tomoharu Moriya seemingly put Japan on track towards victory lane.

But after Italy put Tara Melassi in to replace Gabriele Marras, Japan’s offense stopped to produce. Italy on the other hand was able to come back. A RBI fielder’s choice by Giulio Da Re put the Azzurri on the board in the fourth. In the sixth they loaded the bases with one out on a pair of walks and a hit by pitch. Da Re and Luca Gherghetta eventually came around on a wild pitch and a passed ball to even the score and forcing extra innings.

In the seventh neither team was able to profit from the IBAF Extra Inning rule, which puts runners on first and second to start the frame. In the eighth, Japan stopped Italy in the top half. In the bottom Melassi’s magic was over. A perfectly place bunt loaded the bases to lead off the frame. After a lineout to second, Sawamura stepped to the plate and laced a 0-1 pitch into left field to decide the outcome.

Japan will return to the field at Tien-Mou Stadium on Monday evening against Brazil. Italy takes on the Czech Republic in a duel of two European teams at Youth Park in the afternoon

Japan  ab   r   h rbi  bb  so  po   a lob 
NINOMIYA Kosuke lf/p 
TAKAMIZU Hidemasa cf 
UEDA Taiyo 2b 
   SUZUKI Ryusei 2b 
MORIYA Tomoharu ss 
ISHII Yuki c 
   AOKI Daichi ph/c 
   SUZUKI Mutsuya p 
   YANAGIDA Kyosuke lf/p 
SATO Ichiro rf 
   KIKUTA Hirokazu ph/1b 
   MIZUSHIMA Koyo ph 
OBA Shogo 1b/rf 
NAKAJIMA Hiromu 3b 
   SAWAMURA Shota ph 
Totals 28 24 13 10 

Score by Innings R H E
Italy............... 000 102 00 - 3 4 2
Japan............... 003 000 01 - 4 8 1
Note: 1 out, 3 runners LOB when the game ended.

E - MELASSI; COVATI(1); SUZUKI R(1). DP - JPN 1. LOB - ITA 14; JPN 10. 2B -

Japan  ip er bb so wp bk hbp ibb ab bf fo go np 
YAGIHASHI Sora   1.2 36 
SUZUKI Mutsuya   2.2 12 12 42 
NINOMIYA Kosuke   1.2 10 37 
YANAGIDA Kyosuke W,1-0  2.0 22