Game 15
Japan 7 vs.
Canada 1

Tuesday, August 21, 2007
1:00PM ET

Japan Hot Despite Cold
Japan advances to semi-final round with win over Canada

By Andrew Schimmel
Special Correspondent

A three-day break in the action had little effect on the Tokyo Kitasuna All-Stars from Japan. In fact, it had no effect.

The Japan region champs posted a 7-1 win over Canada on Tuesday, assuring themselves of a spot in one of Thursday’s international semifinals. After a 10-3 win over Curacao on Friday, Japan took two scheduled offdays before rain forced Monday’s game with Canada to Tuesday.

It was worth the wait for Japan starter Ryo Ogawa, who tossed five-plus innings of one-run, two-hit ball.

“That kid throws hard and it took us a little bit to catch up to him,” said Canada coach Scott Smith. “He’s got a good variety of pitches, he’s got a good curveball and he mixed it up. They like to work the plate, inside and outside.”

Junsho Kiuchi snapped a scoreless tie in the bottom of the second with a line-drive two-run homer that just cleared the centerfield wall of Lamade Stadium.

“I didn’t think it was a home run,” admitted Kiuchi through translator Yuichi Ishibashi. “After I recognized it was a home run I was really happy.”

After striking out the Canadian side in the first, Ogawa walked two of the first three batters he faced in the second, but rallied to strike out two in a row to end the threat.

Ogawa helped his own cause by driving in a pair of insurance runs in the bottom half of the fifth with a bloop single to center. Yasuda followed Ogawa’s hit with a run-scoring single of his own.

In the top of the sixth, Ogawa allowed a lead-off single to Jeff Kavanagh, and was pulled in favor of Go Matsumori. Matsumori struck out Jackson Temple before allowing a pair of hits to load the bases. He then surrendered a run-scoring fielder’s choice groundout to Jordan Emmerman before striking out Tanner Sandstrom to end it.

Canada, which lost for the first time in 24 all-star tournament games, is still alive to advance out of pool play. The White Rock, British Columbia All-Stars will square off against Curacao on Wednesday in a win-and-you’re-in game.



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