Japan defeats South Korea to launch new Premier12 global championship

Japan defeats South Korea to launch new Premier12 global championship
09/11/2015

SAPPORO, Japan — World No. 1 Samurai Japan defeated rivals No. 8 South Korea 5-0 to launch the newest international baseball flagship tournament, WBSC Premier12, before more than 28,000 fans at the Sapporo Dome and global TV audience Sunday night.

Highlights

SAPPORO, Japan — World No. 1 Samurai Japan defeated rivals No. 8 South Korea 5-0 to launch the newest international baseball flagship tournament, WBSC Premier12,  before more than 28,000 fans at the Sapporo Dome and global TV audience Sunday night.

After WBSC Premier12 Global Ambassador Chan-ho Park threw out the ceremonial first pitch, Samurai starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani limited South Korea’s offensive attack to just two hits in the first six innings.

Ohtani, 21, displayed an arsenal of pitches, including a fastball that was recorded as high as 161 km/h (100 mph) and devastating fork-ball that not only helped strike out 10 South Korea batters, but also created a buzz on Twitter, trending across Japan and South Korea.

Yomiuri Giants shortstop Hayato Sakamoto (2 for 3, 2 RBI, 2 R) helped deliver the firepower on offense for Samurai Japan, hitting the tournament’s first home run in the sixth inning.

Pitchers Takahiro Norimoto and Yuki Matsui preserved the final three innings and first victory for Japan and Ohtani.

South Korea’s Kim Kwang-hyun  (2.2 innings, 5 H, 2 ER, 5 BB) was tagged with the loss.

Japan (1-0) moves to the top of the standings in Group B, while South Korea moves to the bottom (1-0).

Along with Japan and South Korea, No. 2 USA, No. 6 Dominican Republic, No. 10 Venezuela and No. 12 Mexico will be battling to be among the top four in the group.

Japan will next meet Mexico on Wednesday, while South Korea will tangle with the Dominican Republic.

After each nation plays each other once, the top four will advance to the quarterfinal-knockout stage, while the bottom two will be eliminated from the tournament.

World No. 4 Chinese Taipei and No. 5 Netherlands will open Group B Monday night at Taichung Intercontinental Stadium. No. 3 Cuba, No. 7 Canada, No. 9 Puerto Rico and No. 11 Italy are also competing in Group A.

The competing nations in the 2015 WBSC Premier12 have qualified based on their Top 12 finish in the 2014 WBSC Baseball World Rankings.