Japan too good for South Africa, confirm seventh place finish

Japan too good for South Africa, confirm seventh place finish
Kitora Sudo led the way for Japan with three runs and two RBIs.

World No. 1 Japan confirmed a seventh place finish at the VI U-12 Baseball World Cup following a convincing 14-0 shutout win over world No. 26 South Africa.

The win moves Japan to 3-0 in the Placement Round level with Panama (3-1) but having beaten the Central Americans on Thursday, Japan are guaranteed to finish ahead, as per item C.11 (Tiebreaking) in the Tournament Regulations, even if they lose their last game against Italy on Saturday.

Japan made a quick start in Friday's game scoring four runs over the first two innings off South Africa starting pitcher Sithembiso Phillip Chuma.

Catcher Kitora Sudo went on to score three runs with Toranosuke Hayashi, Chikara Hamano and Yuto Oishi all picking up two apiece. Akihiro Kobayashi, the star of Thursday's win over Panama, also scored to move atop the Placement Round Runs Scored Leaderboard, with four.

Japan, whose previous lowest finish at the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup was sixth in 2015, lost to Chinese Taipei in the 2019 final.

Friday's result confirmed South Africa (0-3) will finish 11th for the third time in as many appearances in the tournament still with one game to play on Saturday against Czechia.