apprehensive? now not Japan’s big bats chasing Little League repeat

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. >> people within the eastern metropolis of Kawaguchi have lengthy reminiscences.

They nonetheless don’t forget the remaining time a group from this city north of Tokyo made it to the Little League World series, in the end losing to Georgia in the 2006 ultimate.

“lots of people in Kawaguchi say ‘2006. Don’t forget about it, get the title again to Japan,”’ supervisor Hiroyuki Takahashi referred to through an interpreter.

Doesn’t count to these gamers as they chase a second straight world title for Japan — the oldest children had been children returned in 2006.


today, representing Japan comes with expectations.

eastern teams at the Little League World collection have back domestic as victors 5 of the closing eight years, and have the 2d-most championship victories all-time with 11, handiest at the back of the 17 gained by way of Taiwan.

A crew from Tokyo closing year cruised through the international bracket, then beat a crew from Lufkin, Texas, by means of mercy rule within the championship.

Takahashi became nonchalant when requested if his group felt any pressure to proceed that dominance.

“Nothing,” he mentioned. “We simply play our best.”

Kawaguchi showed what that best intended all over Japan’s qualifying match. The team scored forty five runs in 4 straight wins, including a 23-2 engage over Nagasaki Minami Little League to clinch a trip to South Williamsport.

“It become just the boys’ gold standard effort.” Takahashi noted.

Kawaguchi will be challenging to stop if it may possibly live hot on the plate. but even though the group cools off, Takahashi isn’t concerned.

“we have a good protecting crew,” spoke of Takahashi. “I’m now not sure of the protective stats, however our defense is also very respectable.”

Kawaguchi has a little time to work on any weaknesses forward of its first video game against Europe-Africa representative Barcelona on Friday.

Third baseman Shinji Furusawa doesn’t feel his crew has anything else greater than minor tweaks to make ahead of competitors.

“We scored the 45 runs while in the Japan Regional match,” Furusawa said, also via an interpreter. “we’re in a position to defeating these groups.”

Takahashi said he’s observed one drawback for his group — there’s just one participant taller than 5-foot-5. Japan’s first baseman, Masato Igarashi, is the tallest at 5-foot-9.

“I consider Japan is very expert and they have decent accuracy,” Takahashi said. “but every other groups have greater our bodies so we don’t recognize what form of baseball they play.”

nonetheless, the primary few days for the teams in Pennsylvania have been more about enjoyable than scouting.

“There are really a lot of different groups, so we’re just trying to make chums,” he talked about. “crew Australia gave us T-shirts with all the avid gamers’ autographs on them, so we took a picture with them. It’s definitely respectable that foreign teams are making friends.”

Make no mistake, even whereas he’s connecting with gamers coming from the world over and throughout language limitations, Japan’s catcher Masaumi Ikeuchi nevertheless has his intellect on the diamond.

“We need to display the efficiency we now have in us,” Ikeuchi pointed out. “We need to have the first rating.”

Batter up

The event is scheduled to inaugurate Thursday afternoon with Puerto Rico taking up South Korea. principal Pennsylvania has had an surprisingly rainy summer season, which has organizers and volunteers hoping for a break within the weather via Aug. 26, when the championship video game is scheduled.

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