Japan cannot stop Panama
Host of 2011 IBAF Baseball World Cup moves to 4-0 with 6-2 Victory

Panama City, Panama. Not even the presence of Japan’s Ambassador to Panama, Ikuo Mizuki, could help the Asian baseball powerhouse in their meeting with Panama on Thursday evening at Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City. The hosts improved to 4-0 with a 6-2 victory. They scored three runs in the first three innings and three in the ninth to seal the deal, as they are on the verge of clinching a spot in the second round.

Panama didn’t waste any time in the beginning and took a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Jose Macias reached with a one-out walk, moved to third and scored on a groundout by Fernando Seguinol. They added two more runs thanks to a RBI double by Damaso Espino in the second and a RBI single by Conception Rodriguez in the third. Three runs in the ninth, courtesy of doubles by Luis Castillo and Angel Chavez provided some insurance.

Japan had managed to keep things close until the end, but it was not enough to get into winning lane. They got on the board in the second inning, when Ryochi Adachi scored on a double play groundball to first base by Shigeki Nakano. In the third Panamanian shortstop Angel Chavez only was able to stop a groundball by Yuichi Tabata with two outs, who later came around to score on a double by Toshiyuki Hayashi. Japan hit a few balls hard afterwards, but Panama’s outfielders ran down long flyballs at the warning track.

On the mound both starting pitcher didn’t last long. Japan’s Ken Togame (L, 0-1) was charged with the loss, conceding two hits, two runs and a walk in just two innings. Paolo Espino, who had received the win in the BWC opener last Saturday, went four innings, issuing seven hits and two runs in a no decision. Gilberto Mendez (W, 1-0) replaced him, retired nine of the ten batters he faced for his the win in relief.

After picking up four wins in four games, Panama is now going to face Canada, USA and the Netherlands in the next three days, which have a combined record of 11-1 in the tournament. The Maple Leafs will be up next on Friday evening in Panama City. Japan is squaring off with Chinese Taipei in the afternoon game in a duel of winless teams.

(From IBAF Website)