Japan beats Korea in front of impressive crowd, powerhouses ready for WBSC Premier12 final

Japan beats Korea in front of impressive crowd, powerhouses ready for WBSC Premier12 final
16/11/2019
A total of 44,224 fans enjoyed a 3 hour 43 minute slugfest at the Tokyo Dome

Japan and Korea amused an impressive crowd of 44,224 at the Tokyo Dome scoring a total of 18 runs on 26 hits. The effort to complete the 3-hour 43-minute marathon required 11 pitchers. Japan earned a 10-8 win to finish first in the WBSC Premier12 Super Round.

Japan and Korea will face each other again tomorrow, in the Championship game of the WBSC Premier12 2019.

The starting lineups may have suggested that if was not going to be a do-or-die type of game. Japan's starter, 35-year old veteran Kishi Takayuki, had pitched only three innings in the tournament and Korea used 20-year old prospect Lee Seugho only for one inning before tonight.

Lee lasted only two innings and gave up six runs on eight hits. He left in the bottom of the third. Reliever Lee Yongchan inherited a 3-1 deficit and the bases loaded. He walked in a run and gave up two more on a base hit and a sacrifice fly.

Kishi also gave up six runs, but over the span of four innings. He needed 69 pitches to complete the task. Kishi went to the mound in the top of the fourth with a six-run lead. He needed 31 pitches to get out of the inning.

Despite missing their starting shortstop, center fielder and catcher, Korea's line up got to Kishi with six hits, including doubles by catcher Park Seihyok and shortstop Kim Sangsu, and trimmed Japan's lead to one run.

Japan stranded 11 runners, leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, but managed to protect the lead. Right fielder Seiya Suzuki and first baseman Tetsuo Yamada manufactured a key double play in the top of the fifth.

Reliever Yudai Ohno completed a scoreless fifth, despite allowing three walks, and earned the win.

Kan Ohtake pitched a perfect eighth inning. Kazuto Taguchi followed with a perfect ninth and earned the save.