16U: Japan stuns Mexico in Lagos de Moreno
6-0 Shutout puts both teams at 2-2 in Second Round

Panamerican Stadium. Lagos de Moreno. August 25, 2011.

Japan stunned Mexico with a 6-0 shutout on Thursday evening at Panamerican Stadium in Lagos de Moreno. It was the fourth straight victory for Japan in the 16U Baseball World Championship, which is 2-2 in the second-round standings, tied with the hosts and two other teams. A strong pitching performance and two three-run innings helped the Asian team to the victory. It is their third shutout.

After a one-hour delay due to heavy rain in the afternoon, Japan didn’t show any signs of sleepiness. They opened the game with three runs in the top of the first thanks to an error, a RBI single by Taishi Bamba and a RBI fielder’s choice by Toshiki Fukuda. Following five scoreless innings, three more runs, one on a RBI double by Daiki Asama and two on a dropped ball at first, sealed the deal in the top of the seventh.

Japan didn’t need to score a half dozen runs, as their pitching and defense was in complete control of the game. Daiki Tajima (W, 1-0) lowered his ERA in the tournament to 2.45 with five scoreless innings to start the game. He struck out six and allowed just three hits and a walk, mixing nice breaking balls with a well-placed fastball. After him Bamba didn’t need any strikeouts to keep Mexico off the board in the next three frames. Shota Tatsuta closed it out by striking out the side in the ninth.

On the other side Julian Leon (L, 1-1) gave up three unearned runs on five hits and two walks in five solid innings. Victor Arano also issued three runs in his 1 1/3 innings outing before Carlos Rubio held his team in the game with 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

On Friday Japan will be back at Romo Chavez Stadium in Aguascalientes, facing Australia, trying to win their fifth straight game. Mexico will return to Panamerican Stadium in Lagos de Moreno for a highly anticipated duel against Cuba.

(From IBAF Website)