Both teams will be going to San Francisco, Japan as the number one seed after their 10-6 win over the Netherlands. It looked like another slaughter after Japan erupted for eight runs in the second inning off Dave Bergman. Shinnosuke Abe slugged two homeruns in the inning, a solo shot leading off the second and a 3-run homer to end the eight run scoring outburst.
Hisayoshi Chono drove in five runs for Japan with a 3-run double in the second and a 2-run single in the eighth. Nobuhiro Matsuda drove in the other run for Japan with a single in the second.
Kenji Otonari started for Japan and after giving a leadoff homer to Andrelton Simmons settled down and shut out the Dutch for the next three innings, striking out six. Japanese pitchers struck out 13 Dutch for the game.
The Netherlands did score five runs in the sixth and seventh innings to pull to within two, but the Chono 2-run single in the bottom frame.
There were still 30,000 to show up to see Japan play a meaningless game. It is too bad they can’t do something about that last game to make it mean something more than seeding. Whether it is the Dominican Republic or the United States seeded one or two from the other pool, both will be tough games. Even Puerto Rico or Italy will be tough if they can make it beyond the second round.
The top hitters for Japan:
Hirokazu Ibata - .571 with five walks and two whiffs and leads the team in runs scored with six
Shinnosuke Abe - .316, 2, 7 tied for the team RBI lead
Yoshio Itoi - .316, 1, 7, with five walks and one whiff
Nobuhiro Matsuda - .389 and second to Ibata in slugging with 1.117
Kenta Maeda - 0.00 ERA in 10 innings of work with 15 whiffs in 10 innings. Who said he had arm problems?
Masahiro Tanaka - 2.57, giving up 10 hits in 7 innings, but he has struck out 12.
Top Hitters for Netherlands
Adrelton Simmons - .370, 2, 6 tied for team lead in RBIs despite hitting from the leadoff and leads in runs scored with nine.
Curt Smith - .375, 1, 4
Jonathan Schoop - .250, 2, 6
Deigo Markwell - 0.90 ERA and won both his starts