NPB Pacific Turns Into Three Team Race

August 8th, 2017

The two top teams in the Pacific were the Rakuten Golden Eagles and the Softbank Hawks. A recent 13 game winning streak by the Seibu Lions have put them in the rearview mirror. Since only three teams from each conference make the playoffs, these three teams are almost guaranteed to make a playoff appearance, a full 14 games ahead of their closest pursuers. Since the number one seed gets to play all their playoff games at their park the race is not over yet. Each team will try to win games to become that number one seed.

Softbank Hawks (65-35-0)

Considering the Hawks have made the playoffs the last two seasons it was quite disturbing for fans to see them near the bottom of the division after a good chunk of the season had been played. After winning the conference the previous two years they were beaten out by the eventual champion Nippon Ham Fighters last year. This year the Fighters have been without Shohei Otani for most of the year and find themselves at the bottom of the conference.

The Hawks are led on offense by Yuki Yanagita, who in 2015 had a fabulous season hitting .363 with 34 homeruns and 32 stolen bases as a 26 year old. He got off to a slow start to this season but has now upped his average to .325 and his 26 homeruns is close to approaching his 2015 career high. It is a nice bounce back from what was considered an off year last season. Alfredo Despaigne is one of the few Cuban sluggers who has not defected to the major leagues. His participation in the NPB limits the number of games he plays for his Cuban team. Alfredo does not hit for the average of Yanagita (.253) but the power is there with his 23 homeruns. Seiichi Uchikawa is the veteran presence of the group that provides consistency in the lineup. He will fall short of the 106 runs he drove in last year but at .294, 12, 49 his production is valuable.

The top pitcher on the staff is Nao Higashihama, whose 11 wins is tied for the lead in the Pacific Conference and his 2.26 ERA is third in the conference. The 11 wins for the 27 year old is already a career high and the ERA is his lowest in his five year NPB career. Rick Vanden Hurk has made a career pitching in the Netherlands, Korea, the United States and Japan. The Dutch born hurler is in his third season in Japan where his nine wins has already achieved his career high. His ERA sits at 3.18.

The top closer in the NPB is perhaps Dennis Sarfarte. He is approaching his third straight season with 40 or more saves (34), a skill most major league teams would pay millions for. His ERA is a microscopic 1.20. He has one of the best setup men in the NPB this year in Sho Iwasaki (1.94 ERA, 26 holds) to get the game into the ninth. After nine rather unimpressive years this is the best season for Iwasaki.

Rakuten Golden Eagles (59-32-1)

The Eagles have made a living off their starting pitching. Two major leaguers Hisashi Iwakuma and Masahiro Tanaka both have had success in the major leagues and Japan. Add Takahiro Norimoto to that list soon. This year he is 10-3 but his 3.37 ERA is a tad high compared to previous years. The last three years he has struck out more than 200 hitters. This year he sits at 151 whiffs and should have no problem making it a fourth year with 200 or more K’s. Takayuki Kishi (8-4, 2.18) and Manabu Mima (9-3, 2.80) give the Eagles a big three in the rotation. Kishi is second in the conference in ERA and was a free agent signing from Seibu where he had accumulated 103 wins in a 10 year career. Mima is perhaps having his best season since 2012. He has already tied for his career high in wins.

Yuki Matsui would be a dwarf when standing next to major league pitchers. His 5′9″ height is not what scouts look for in pitchers. They would not complain about a pitcher who has a 0.20 ERA, corralled 29 saves and gives up just 22 hits in 44.2 innings. Walks can still be a problem but he is having a nice bounce back year after his 3.32 ERA last season. Hiroyuki Fukuyama (6-0, 0.96) does a pretty good job of getting the ball to Matsui with a lead.

Fans have been excited about the energy second year player Eigoro Mogi has put in the lineup batting from the leadoff position. He is hitting .303 with 14 homeruns and a .375 OBP. The one thing he does not do is steal bases. The power in the lineup is provided by the foreign trio of Zealous Wheeler (.283, 24, 57), Carlos Peguero (.307, 21, 63) and Japhet Amador (.224, 17, 42). Amador is a big man who came from Mexico. The Astros signed him but after struggling in the major leagues he returned to the Mexican League where Rakuten found him.

Seibu Lions (57-38-2)

The Seibu Lions were once a proud franchise that brought the major leagues Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kaz Matsui. They are starting to get some of their mojo back heading towards their first playoff appearance since 2013. Shogo Akiyama is their big hitter this year with a league leading .332 average. He has also contributed some power with a career high 20 homeruns, six more than his previous career high with 40 more games of the season to play. Hideto Asamura (.309, 12, 74) give the Lions a good 1-2 punch at the top of the order. They have been disappointed in the foreign bat of Ernesto Mejia (.245, 16, 49) sending him to their minor leagues to get his swing back. Takeya Nakamura (.224, 24, 68) is another big power hitter whose hitting skills have been declining.

The Lions have perhaps one of the best pitchers in the league this year in Yusei Kikuchi, who was the Shohei Otani from a number of years ago, telling Japanese teams he did not want to be drafted because he wanted to pitch in the major leagues. With a mid-90s fastball he is 11-4 with a 1.90 ERA, the wins tied for first in the Pacific Conference and his ERA number one. His 146 whiffs falls short only of Norimoto. This is his best NPB season after struggling early in his career. Brian Wolfe (9-2, 2.61) has been a good foreign pick up as has set up man Brian Schlitter (0-3, 1.53 ERA).

2017 World Cup Under 12 All Tournament Team and Other Deserving Players

August 7th, 2017

Below are some of the awards that were given out to players for their performance in the 12 and under World Cup. These awards were normally handed out to players who performed on winning teams. Below the all tournament team myworld lists some other players who performed well in the tournament.

All Tournament Team

MVP Kai Caranto (United States) - .391 average, 2 homeruns and 17 RBIs with 9 stolen bases

Top Hitter Reiji Toi (Japan) - .706, 1, 7 with 7 stolen bases

Top Pitcher - Chia-Cheng Chao (Taiwan) - 2-0, 0.69 with 15 K’s

Top Defensive Player - Pai Chen An (Taiwan) - .556, 5, 14

Starting Pitcher - Chao Chia Cheng (Taiwan) - 2-0, 0.69 with 15 K’s
Relief Pitcher - Joshua Atomanczyk (United States) - .381, 5, 12, 2-0, 1.24 ERA
Catcher - Pai Chen An (Taiwan) - .556, 5, 14
First Base - Raffaele Velazquez (United States) - .455, 1, 8
Second Base - Cesar Monjeras (Mexico) - .393, 3, 15 with 11 runs scored
Third Base - Chan-Seo Lee (Korea) - .385, 0, 4
Shortstop - Kai Caranto (United States) - .391, 2, 17, 9 stolen bases
Outfield - Adan Sanchez (Panama) - .750, 4, 7 with 15 runs scored
Jose Tirado (Mexico) - .654, 5, 15 with 13 runs scored
Toi (Japan) - .706, 1, 7 with 7 stolen bases

Other Players to Recognize

United States

Benjamin Reiland - .643, 1, 9 with 16 runs scored and 9 stolen bases
Spencer Butt - .600, 1, 3 with 6 stolen bases
Brad Burnes - .391, 2, 9 with 10 runs scored and 11 stolen bases
Brandon Olivera - 1-0, 1.71

Taiwan

Yi-Lei Sun - .524, 2, 5 with 11 runs scored and 9 stolen bases
Yu-En Chien - .467, 2, 6 with 13 runs scored and 8 stolen bases
Yi-Cheng Yang - .444, 2, 10 with 14 runs scored and 10 stolen bases
Shuo-Heng Han - 1-0, 0.75 with 15 K’s, .409, 4, 12 with 11 runs scored
Sheng-Wei Yang - 1-0, 1.06

Mexico

Juan Saldana - .450, 2, 9
Antonis Macias - .417, 2, 8 with 13 runs scored
Juan Hernandez - 4-0, 1.32

Japan

Koki Yamaguchi - .563, 1, 9
Daisuke Mori - .348, 2, 7 with 13 runs scored and 7 stolen bases

Korea

Jeong-Gyu Woo - .474, 0, 3
Seong-Mu Jang - .444, 0, 6

Nicaragua

Bryant Machado - .417, 1, 7 with 8 runs scored

Panama

Dimas Oda - .529, 0, 4 with 5 doubles
Emanuel Villarreal - 2-0, 1.44 12 K’s

Czech Republic

Lukas Hurta - .450, 1, 4 with 4 doubles

Brazil

Gabriel Ota - .412, 0, 5

Australia

David Hyde - .409, 0, 5, 1-1, 1.33

Russia

Jared Riffel - .417, 2, 5

Germany

Kilian Redle - .333, 1, 3

Myworlds Top Ten Texas League Prospects

August 6th, 2017

Myworld struggled to find ten quality players to make a top ten. Not an impressive lot. These are prospects based on their production while in the Texas League. A number of Dodger pitchers filter this list.

1. Walker Buehler RHP (Dodgers) - Walker was a first round pick of the Dodgers in 2015. Tommy John surgery prevented him from playing in 2015 and in 2016 he was limited to five regular season innings and two playoff starts that also was five innings. The Dodgers have been aggressive with him this year, starting him in High A ball where it only took five starts and a 1.10 ERA to get him promoted to AA. It took him 11 AA starts with a 3.49 ERA to get him promoted to AAA. Combined opponents are hitting only .190 against him with 112 whiffs in 80 innings pitched. Don’t be surprised to see the Dodgers limit his innings, shutting him down after August to protect his arm. As is, his starts have only averaged four innings per start, limiting his ability to produce victories. His fastball sits in the mid-90s with a combination curve/slider and a change that he throws for strikes. He has a good shot of making the Dodgers rotation sometime next year.

2. Jack Flaherty RHP (Cardinals) - Jack was a first round pick of the Cardinals in 2014. He started the season in AA and was almost unhittable in his 10 starts, stitching together a 1.42 ERA. That resulted in his promotion to AAA where he has not been as dominant (3.21 ERA) but he has still been effective. Despite his 6′4″ frame he is not overpowering, hitting the low 90s with his fastball with a plus changeup that gives the fastball the appearance of greater velocity. He also has little difficulty throwing strikes, though this has resulted in a greater homerun stroke by the AAA opposition. With continued success expect a September promotion by the Cardinals.

3. Magneruris Sierra CF (Cardinals) - This Dominican was a bargain sign when he inked his $105,000 bonus in 2012. Defense in centerfield and speed will be his calling card. There is very little power in his bat but he does have the ability to hit over .300. His speed can turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples. He started this year in High A, was quickly promoted to AA and after hitting .286 with 13 stolen bases in 61 games he was promoted to the major league club. In the majors he is hitting .365 with no extra base hits in 13 games. If he is not to become a fourth outfielder he needs an OBA of .330 or better, something he was able to accomplish in the minor leagues except for this year.

4. Yohander Mendez LHP (Rangers) - Yohander was signed out of Venezuela in 2011 for $1.5 million. Last year he made his major league debut, pitching two games of relief for the Rangers but showing great difficulty retiring hitters. Despite his dominance at AAA last year the Rangers have placed him in AA again where he has started 20 games with a 3.86 ERA. The opposition is hitting him at a .230 rate. The fastball can reach the mid-90s but mostly sits in the low 90s, good enough velocity for a lefthander. His change may be his best pitch but he lacks a third pitch which could keep him in a bullpen role. Expect a September promotion this year.

5. J.D. Davis 3B (Astros) - J.D. was a third round pick in 2014. His two biggest tools are a rocket arm and the ability to hit for power. Last year he hit 23 homeruns in AA. With Colin Moran in AAA J.D. repeated AA and slugged 21 homeruns in just 87 games, still tops in the Texas League. That led to a promotion to AAA after Moran was promoted to the Astros where J.D. added five dingers in 16 games. The 26 homeruns match his career high he set in 2015. With Moran and Correa injured the Astros have promoted him to the major league club to provide some depth in the infield. He will stay there until Correa gets healthy.

6. Grant Holmes RHP (Athletics) - Grant was a first round pick of the Dodgers in 2014. The Dodgers included him in a trade to the Athletics for Josh Reddick and Rich Hill. While his ERA is not good (4.90) he does lead the Texas League in whiffs with 115. Opponents do seem to make hard contact off him (.279) despite his ability to hit the mid-90s with his fastball. The trade of Sonny Gray gives Grant a better opportunity to work his way into the Athletics rotation. For a first round pick he has been a disappointment but expect him to find a spot in the Athletics rotation sometime next year.

7. Luis Urias SS/2B (Padres) - Luis was signed out of Mexico in 2013. His slow foot speed probably makes him a better fit for second base. This year he has seen more games at short (56) but 34 games at second. His best shot of making a major league team is in a utility role. He lacks power but can hit for average. Last year his .330 average won the California League batting title. This year he is hitting .314. His slow foot speed will not result in stolen bases so the only tool he has is his ability to hit for average and solid defensive play at second base. Expect him to get an opportunity with the Padres in September.

8. Dakota Hudson RHP (Cardinals) - Dakota was a first round pick out of Mississippi State in 2016. He leads the Texas League in ERA by more than a run. His 2.53 ERA has already led to a recent promotion to AAA. Despite his impressive numbers his whiffs are not prevalent (77 whiffs in 114 innings) and the opposition seems to have the ability to make hard contact off him (.255). He sits in the mid-90s with his fastball with a curve, slider and change combination. He has already reached 121 innings pitched so expect the Cardinals to slow down the number of innings he eats.

9. Richie Martin SS (Athletics) - Richie was a first round pick of the Athletics in 2015. The Athletics appear to have a surplus at shortstop, but if they want defense Richie is the man. The concern for him is whether he will have enough bat to play in the major leagues. This year he is only hitting .224 in AA. With the acquisition of Jorge Mateo from the Yankees the Athletics demoted him back to High A to find his bat while at the same time putting Jorge at short.

10. Samir Duenez 1B (Royals) - Samir was signed out of Venezuela in 2012. While he shows good ability to hit for contact and average he plays a position where teams look for power. Until this year he had yet to show that power. The power increase seems to have come at a lowering of his batting average (.267). The 15 homeruns is a career high but the average is down below normal. His slugging average of .429 is still a bit below average. His below average speed makes a move to the outfield difficult so if he is to make it to the majors he must continue to carry the balls over the fence at the cost of 20 to 30 points to his average.

Others to Watch

Yasiel Sierra RHP (Dodgers) - Yasiel was signed out of Cuba in 2016 for six years and $30 million that included a $6 million bonus. At 25 years of age the bonus did not count against the Dodgers international cap, but it does put pressure on the Dodgers to promote him quickly to get some bang for their buck. The Dodgers moved him to the bullpen this year after he struggled as a starting pitcher last year (6.20 ERA). It only took him 26 relief appearances with a 2.54 ERA to get him a promotion to AAA. He struck out 64 in 50 innings but a .244 opposition average is alarming. His fastball hits the mid to high 90s. Without a third pitch it might be best he work out of the bullpen. Though the Dodgers do not appear to need any help a September callup may be a possibility just to get him exposure to major league hitters.

Yadier Alvarez RHP (Dodgers) - Myworld might find room for him in the top ten with more starts and less walks. The Dodgers paid him a $16 million bonus in 2015. Only Hector Olivera and his $28 million bonus is higher. At 21 with a fastball that has hit triple digits the Dodgers can be patient with him. He got a promotion to AA despite his struggles with command at High A that was responsible for his 4.88 ERA. In three starts in the Texas League his ERA sits at 2.84 but with 12 walks in 12.2 innings pitched he needs to find the plate more. Coming into this season the opposition average last year was .185. This year it is .268. For some reason his pitches are easier to hit and with a 1.57 WHIP that is too many runners on base.

A.J. Puk RHP (Athletics) - Performance wise the first round 2016 pick may not deserve to be here. His 5.88 ERA in eight starts is a bit high. But he has pitched games with 11 and 13 whiffs and has struck out 46 hitters in 35 innings. Opponents are hitting only .229 against him but 19 walks has given him too many baserunners. At 6′7″ he has good height which makes his mid to high 90s fastball that much more intimidating when it comes to the plate. The down side of that height is it makes it difficult for him to repeat his delivery making command of the fastball difficult. He also needs to develop his secondary pitches (slider and change) if he wants to stick as a starter.

Jorge Mateo SS (Athletics) - A new comer to the league since his acquisition from the Yankees. Jorge would probably be in the top five if he played more games. A toolsy player with speed and surprising power. When the Yankees acquired Gleyber Torres it forced Mateo to move to second. Some feel a average arm may make second base the best position for him. In six Texas League games Jorge has already accumulated three triples and is hitting .267. The Athletics will see how he handles short, demoting Richie Martin, their best defensive shortstop to give him opportunities.

Orioles Rout Tigers with Five Taters

August 6th, 2017

The two starting pitchers were Ubaldo Jimenez for the Orioles and Anibal Sanchez for the Tigers, two pitchers who came into this game with ERAs over 6.00. Myworld expected a lot of runs to be scored. It was the Orioles who scored the runs in their 12-3 rout of the Tigers. The Tigers wasted their opportunities.

It was not a good start for Sanchez. In the first inning he gave up back to back to back homeruns to Jonathan Schoop, Chris Davis and Trey Mancini to fall behind 4-0. His fastball does not have any zip to it and when it is not located well hitters can get the barrel of the bat on the ball.

In the second inning Joey Ricard led off the inning with a single to center. He stole second, advancing to third when the throw from John Hicks sailed into centerfield. Down 4-0 the Tigers chose to play the infield in. Manny Machado drove a pitch that hit the base of the fence for an RBI double, his second hit of the day. Manny had started the first inning rally with an opposite field single to right.

The Orioles knocked Sanchez out of the game in the fourth. Joey Rickard led the inning off poking one down the left field corner. It flew just inside the foul pole and bounced against a seat four or five rows in, rebounding back to the field. Adam Jones grounded a single past the diving Dixon Machado at short. Manny Machado finished the day for Sanchez by blasting a pitch into centerfield just to the left of the bullpen for a two run shot to make it 8-0.

Ubaldo held the Tigers scoreless but he did not pitch well. He left seven runners on in the first four innings, which would have been one more if Dixon Machado had not grounded into a double play. He finally gave up a run in the fifth inning when Nicholas Castellanos blasted one into left centerfield just to the right of the bullpen. After putting two runners on in the sixth Ubaldo was gone.

The Orioles piled it on in the eighth with a four spot. Caleb Joseph got the inning started blooping a double to right field. An infield single by Rickard after a diving stop by Castellanos and a single to left by Adam Jones loaded the bases off reliever Chad Bell. Manny Machado sent Bell to the showers bouncing a single past his namesake Dixon for a two run single. A ground out by Chris Davis scored a third run and a Trey Mancini single off the right field scoreboard made it 12-1.

The Orioles brought out Donnie Hart to finish the game. The Tigers were able to string three hits together to score two runs to make it 12-3.

Game Notes: Some fan can say that he got a homerun ball sitting in the upper deck in left field. Myworld is not aware of any hit reaching the upper deck. When Nick Castellanos homered into left centerfield the fan who caught the ball threw it back on the field. Adam Jones picked it up, then threw it into the upper deck of left field…Tim Beckham made some impressive plays at short. The former number one pick in the draft a number of years ago now seems to be maturing, turning into a decent ballplayer. The Orioles traded for him to play short while J.J. Hardy is on the disabled list. Once Hardy gets healthy it will be difficult to see him back at short…Dixon Machado also played some nice defense at short. He has also got his batting average over .300…Joe Jimenez did not impress in relief. He has a mid-90s fastball but the Oriole bats had no problem making contact against it…The Tigers collected 14 hits and stranded 12 runners on base…Myworld predicted Manny would get hot after watching him with a more balanced swing in the first Sunday home game after the All Star break. His four hits was a triple short of the cycle and increased his batting average to .257. Expect that batting average to keep rising.

Under 12 World Cup - United States with the Threepeat

August 6th, 2017

The United States won their third straight under 12 World Cup getting a bit of revenge in the process by beating Taiwan. Earlier in pool play Taiwan had thrashed the United States, hitting five homeruns in a five inning 16-2 route. In the bronze medal game Mexico pulled off the upset winning a pitcher’s duel over Japan.

United States 7 Taiwan 2

A largely disappointed sell-out crowd of 11,000 fans watched the United States use two big blasts to take an early lead over Taiwan and keep it. Kai Caranto began the fireworks in the third inning with a big three run homer. Raffaele Velazquez made it back to back with his solo shot to give the United States an early 4-0 lead. Brandon Olivera kept the Taiwan bats in check with two hits, the big hit a two run homer from Chen-An Pai in the fourth. The United States gave themselves some breathing room in the fifth taking advantage of two Taiwan errors to score three runs. Caranto shut out the Taiwan bats the last two innings to gain the victory and the Under 12 World Cup championship for the third straight time. You can go to the WBSC website and click on the schedule to watch the championship games. In the background you can hear the chant “U-S-A”.

Mexico 1 Japan 0

Juan Hernandez pitched a six inning complete game shutout to tame the Japan bats on five hits. Three of the five hits were by Koki Yamaguchi, who finished the day 3 for 3 with a double. A lead off walk issued by Japan pitchers, a ground out moving the runner to second and a passed ball and wild pitch scored the only run of the game in the fifth inning. Japan used four different pitchers to limit Mexico to three hits, but it was their ability to score the lone run without a hit that proved the game winner.

Under 12 World Cup - Gold Medal Participants Decided

August 5th, 2017

The United States will get their rematch against Taiwan in the gold medal match after disposing of a tough Mexico team. Japan will battle with Mexico for the bronze.

United States 12 Mexico 10

The two teams combined for 11 runs in the fourth inning, with the United States scoring six. The United States showed some speed on the bases with eight stolen bases, Benjamin Reiland accounting for four of them in a 4 for 4 day with three runs scored. Joshua Atomanczyk did not go deep but the Mexican pitchers were cautious with him. He walked twice, stole two bases on a 2 for 2 day with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs. Kai Caranto only got one hit but it was a big one, a three run shot in the fourth. Kai added a sacrifice fly to drive in four for the game. Kai also struck out the last two batters with two runners on in the sixth to close out the game. Spencer Butt also went deep for the United States.

Juan Tirado and Alan Nava went deep for Mexico. Nava had a big three run blast in the five run fourth that had put Mexico up 8-5.

Japan 6 Korea 5

The two teams remained scoreless the first four innings. Korea surprised Japan with a five run outburst in the top of the fifth. Japan took advantage of two fielding errors by Korea to score four. Three walks in the bottom of the sixth set the stage for Koki Yamaguchi, who doubled over the head of the centerfielder to score two runners and end the game. It was his second double of the game. His double in the fifth also plated a runner to give him three RBIs for the day.

Seung-Won Ji corralled three hits on the day for Korea. Reiji Toi was a perfect 3 for 3 for Japan.

Taiwan 9 Nicaragua 1

The Taiwan bats have been explosive in the super round with 10 homeruns in two games. There were no homeruns in this game but Taiwan took advantage of eight walks and three errors to ride over Nicaragua. They used their speed to steal five bases with Yi-Lei Sun accounting for three. Sun scored twice as did Shuo-Heng Han and Chen-An Pai. Pai did not have an official at bat, walking once and being hit by a pitch twice.

Bernadina Hits for Cycle

August 4th, 2017

Roger Bernadina has had a good first season in the KBO. He has led the Kia Tigers to their current first place standing, initially hitting leadoff but currently hitting normally in the three spot. He is currently hitting .322 with 20 homers and 76 RBIs. His 21 stolen already make him a 20/20 player.

On Thursday he did something only two other foreign players have accomplished in the KBO, hit for the cycle. Manny Martinez was the first who did it in 2001 while playing for the Samsung Lions. Eric Thames, who is now finding success with the Milwaukee Brewers, hit for the cycle twice in 2015 for the NC Dinos. Now you can add Bernadina to that list.

His first hit was for a triple, the back end of back to back triples that gave the Kia Tigers a 1-0 lead. A sacrifice fly drove him in to make it 2-0. In the third inning he turned a single into a two out hustle double but was left stranded at third base. His one out single in the fifth again left him stranded at third. He led off the eighth with a lead off homerun, the last of the Tiger scoring in a 9-3 win.

Under 12 World Cup - Playoffs Day 2 Expect the Unexpected

August 4th, 2017

The United States bounced back after their thrashing by Taiwan to beat Japan. Nicaragua upset the powerful Mexican team. The only team consistent in this world cup was the play of Taiwan as their bats stayed hot and their pitching continued its dominance in their win over Korea.

United States 6 Japan 3

The United States team bounced back after their ugly loss to Taiwan or perhaps it was Joshua Atomanczyk who bounced back. Joshua slugged two homeruns and drove in five of the United States six runs in beating Japan. He also was the starting pitcher going 5.1 innings. Three United States errors allowed two of the three runs to score against him to be unearned. Leadoff hitter Benjamin Reiland was on base both times Joshua went deep and scored a third run on a Raffaele Velazquez single. Daisuke Mori hit a solo shot for Japan.

Nicaragua 9 Mexico 7

Nicaragua exploded for six runs in the fourth inning to upset Mexico. Tito Martinez had the big hit with a bases clearing three run double to give Nicaragua a lead they would not relinquish. Mexico did bring the go ahead run to the plate in the sixth and last inning but Bryant Macado was able to retire him on a fly out to secure the win. Cesar Monjares carried the big bat for Mexico on a 2 for 2 day with a homerun, hit by pitch, sacrifice fly and four RBIs.

Taiwan 11 Korea 1

Korea had a brief 1-0 lead after two. Then the big bats of Taiwan repeated what they did against the United States with five homeruns. For his fourth consecutive game Shuo-Heng Han parked a pitch over the fence. Yi-Wei Tseng, Chen-An Pan, Yi-Lei Sun and Shu-Wei Kuo all hit homeruns for Taiwan. Kuo led the team with three RBIs, including a two run homer. All the other homers were solo shots. Sheng-Wei Yang worked four innings to earn the victory, allowing just the one run in the opening frame.

The standings that also include the won loss records of the teams in the super round:

Taiwan 3-1, United States 3-1, Japan 2-2, Mexico 2-2, Nicaragua 1-3, Korea 1-3

Under 12 World Cups - Playoffs Day 1

August 3rd, 2017

Japan beat Brazil as expected to advance as the top team in their bracket, pitting them against Nicaragua. That put Mexico against the other Asian super power Korea and the United States against Taiwan. The big surprise of the playoffs is how easily Taiwan destroyed the two time defending champs, who entered the playoffs as the only undefeated team. The teams from Group A swept the teams from Group B in the opening of the super round showing at least initially who was the better group.

Japan 15 Brazil 0

Japan clinched the top spot for Group A combining 9 walks and 11 hits to plate 15 baserunners. Daisuke Mori hit a solo homerun and Kota Yonezawa drove in four to lead the Japanese offense. Kota Kato pitched three innings of one hit shutout ball. Japan ended the game in four after an 8 run outburst.

Taiwan 16 United States 2

Some days it doesn’t pay to wake up to face the day. The United States players may be thinking that after the thrashing they took from Taiwan. Taiwan put the game away with 13 runs in the last two innings to end the game in five innings against the two time defending champs. Five different players went deep for Taiwan, the first four hitters in their lineup being included in that group. Yi-Cheng Yang, Yu-En Chien, Shuo-Heng Han, Chen-An Pai and Shu-Wei Kuo all cleared the fence for Taiwan. For Han it was the third consecutive game in which he has gone deep. His grand slam in the fourth ignited a 7 run inning turning a 3-2 Japanese lead into 10-2. Han added a sacrifice fly in the six run fifth inning to finish the game with five RBIs. Yi-Wei Tseng pitched 3.2 innings of shutout relief to get the win. The United States got a solo homerun from Daniel Arambula and a 3 for 3 performance from Benjamin Reiland but they were outmuscled by the Taiwan bats.

Japan 10 Nicaragua 0

The Japanese pitching staff was too much for the Nicaraguan bats. Yuto Minamizawa got the start and tossed three innings of no hit shutout ball, striking out five. Tatsuya Kato worked the last two innings, giving up the lone hit by Nicaragua. Minamizawa helped himself on the mound with a 2 for 3 day with two runs driven in and two runs scored.

Mexico 7 Korea 2

Mexico got some of their mojo back with their win over Korea. Juan Tirado led the charge with a homerun on a 3 for 3 day with three runs scored and one RBI. Juan Saldana drove in three runs on his two hits to lead the team in production. Alan Nava scored twice and drove in two runs on a 2 for 4 day.

12 and Under World Cup - Day 5 Japan Recovers

August 2nd, 2017

After being upset by Mexico on the second day Japan has bounced back handing host Taiwan their first loss and beating Russia 31-0. Taiwan smoked Mexico to create a two way tie for first with Japan just a half game back with a makeup to play against Brazil in a game they are winning 5-0. The United States remained the only undefeated team in the tournament by blasting Germany.

Japan 7 Taiwan 5

Taiwan pitchers had gone the whole tournament without giving up a run, just coming off a 10-0 shutout earlier in the day against the powerful bats of Mexico. They had Japan shutout for the first four innings, ahead 4-0 when the Japan bats broke out of their slumber and assaulted the Taiwan pitching staff for seven runs in the last two innings. Koki Yamaguchi put a charge into the Japanese offense by blasting a 3-run homer in the top of the fifth to close the gap to one run. A wild pitch broke a 4-4 tie in the sixth but with Yamaguchi at the plate the pitcher may have been a bit nervous. Yamaguchi followed the wild pitch with an RBI single to advance the score to 6-4. Taiwan put runners on first and third with two out in their last at bats but Yu-en Chien grounded out to short to end the game. Taiwan got a solo homerun from Shuo-Heng Han, his second of the day.

Taiwan 10 Mexico 0

Coming into this game Taiwan pitchers had yet to give up a hit. Small consolation for Mexico but they got four hits, but none of their players crossed the plate. The power bats of Antonis Macias, Juan Tirado and Cesar Monjaras were a combined 1 for 6, with Tirado getting the only hit. Shuo-Heng Han worked the first 3.1 innings allowing just one hit and striking out six. The game ended after the top of the fifth when Mexico could not score a run. Han helped his cause with a homerun and three RBIs on a 2 for 3 day with three runs scored. The Taiwan lineup put a lot of pressure on the Mexican catcher, stealing 8 bases and also walking 9 times.

Mexico 8 Brazil 7

Mexico got a little complacent after their tough loss to Taiwan. Leading 7-2 they allowed Brazil to score five runs in the last three innings to tie the game. Mexico won it in the seventh when Brazil could not score after loading the bases with no outs. Juan Hernandez struck out the next two hitters and got a ground out to end the threat. Mexico got a one out walk off single from Daniel Garza to end the game. Mexico got a homerun and two RBIs from Jose Tirado, his feverish bat blasting his third homerun of the tournament. Juan Saldana also hit a homerun for Mexico. Brazil got a solo shot from Gabriel Deangelo.

United States 20 Germany 3

The United States slugged three homeruns, pieced together 16 hits with seven walks and blasted Germany. Joshua Atomanczyk bashed his third homer of the tournament and his replacement in the game Carl Rice also went deep. Trent Abel also went deep, finishing the game 4 for 4 with four RBIs and four runs scored. Gregory Pierantoni also contributed four RBIs.

Japan 31 Russia 0

This was the first game for Japan with an evening affair against undefeated Taiwan to follow. Russia remains the only team that has yet to score a run. Japan scored their 31 runs in three at bats, an 18 run third putting the game out of reach. As a team they stole 16 bases. Kota Yonezawa had a perfect 5 for 5 day with four RBIs and four runs scored. Every player in the Japanese lineup crossed the plate at least once and drove in at least one run.

Korea 5 Nicaragua 1

Korea needed the win to put them in the playoffs. Jin-Jung Lee hit a solo shot and Seung-Won Ji pitched 3.2 innings of shutout ball. The win put Korea and Nicaragua into a second place tie with Panama. Korea and Nicaragua advanced because of their team quality balance.

Panama 15 Australia 2

Panama banged out 16 hits in their rout of Australia. Adan Sanchez and Omar Reluz each scored three times to lead the offense. Even though the win put them in a second place tie with Korea and Nicaragua their team quality balance was not good enough to advance them to the playoffs.