16U: Japan wins Bronze Medal
Japan beats Mexico 8-7 in another Thriller

Romo Chavez Stadium. Aguascalientes. August 28, 2011.

Japan has won the bronze medal at the 2011 IBAF 16U Baseball World Championship in Mexico. They defeated Mexico 8-7 in another thrilling game at Romo Chavez Stadium in Aguascalientes. Toshiki Fukuda had the decisive hit, driving in Taishi Bamba with a two-out double in the bottom of the seventh. Mexico couldn’t counter and has to settle for fourth place in the final standings. Mexico had qualified for the due to an 11-5 win over the Netherlands in the last second round game in the morning. Japan had defeated Team USA on Saturday.

It was a back and forth battle between these two teams. After each team put two runs on the board in the opening frame, Mexico struck next in the top of the sixth. RBI singles by Julio Urias and Carlos Rubio got them a 4-2 advantage. But the two-run lead lasted just a few minutes. Daiki Asama opened the bottom half of the same frame with a solo homerun. A RBI groundout by Kyuji Ogawa, a RBI double by Keita Nakagawa, a RBI single by Koki Abe and a two-run single by Yuuki Yoshida made it 7-4 for Japan. The hosts were able to answer one more time. In the top of the seventh a wild pitch and RBI doubles by Cesar Rodriguez and Antoni Cazarin evened the score again. Japan had one more run left in the tank and used it to seal the win.

The one-two punch out of the bullpen, Taishi Bamba (W, 1-0) and Shota Tatsuta (S 1), closed it out with 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief. Daiki Tajima had started for Japan, allowing five hits, two runs and four walks in 3 1/3 innings. Juan Escamilla began for Mexico, but lasted just two outs, giving up two hits, two runs and two walks. Carlos Rubio (L, 0-1) took the loss, conceding the winning run in seventh.

(From IBAF website)