22/02/2020 - 01/03/2020

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U-18 Men's Softball World Cup 2020 - Official Payoff

Japan 8-1 Czech Republic: Mimoto paces Japan past Czech Republic

Japan 8-1 Czech Republic: Mimoto paces Japan past Czech Republic
29/02/2020
Japan kept their perfect win-record at the U-18 Men's Softball World Cup and will now face Australia in Sunday's final, which is a repeat of the 2018 final which Australia won. Japan beat Australia 5-2 in the Super Round on Friday.

Rui Mimoto helped Japan with 3 hits and 2 RBI to a 8-1 victory in five innings against the Czech Republic on Sunday, celebrating an undefeated record as they head into the World Championship Final against Australia at the U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup at Colquhoun Park in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Japan’s patient batting display keyed in on the entire stretch of their campaign to post clinical wins. This game was not an exception as they scored early and consistently against the Czech Repubilc in the first three innings, collecting six runs with Mimoto, who turned 18 earlier this month, to thank for it on the back of his best batting performance of the tournament to date with three hits from three at bats.

Japan scored twice in the first inning and never looked back. A wild pitch allowed Riku Hatakeyama to score from third, and then Keito Kozasa reached home plate on a fielder's choice to close the top of the first inning with a 2-0 lead.

Mimoto singled to left field to lead off the second inning and moved to third on two wild pitches. Finally, he scored on a fielding error to increase the lead to 3-0.

In the third inning, the Czech Republic’s third batter Vojtech Laska hit a home run to deep right centre to score his squad’s first run in the game to trail 3-1. However, Japan answered with a three-run inning. Hatakeyama scored on a grounder and Mimoto, with two runners in scoring position, hit an RBI single to extend the lead 6-1.

In the bottom of the fifth, Japan ended the match with two runs. Back to back singles and a walk loaded the bases for the Asian champions, and then Mimoto scored on a passed ball and Riku Hatakeyama hit a walkoff RBI single to clinch the win, 8-1, in five innings.

Japan advanced to the World Championship Game undefeated in the tournament. It will be their third consecutive final at youth level, with a title in 2016 and a second place in 2018. Tomorrow's final will be a rematch of the 2018 decisive match in Prince Albert, Canada, where Australia beat Japan by 6-1.

Having already confirmed a place in the Bronze Medal Game on Friday, the Czech Republic finished the Super Round in fourth with a 2:3 win:loss record and will play the Bronze Medal Game against Argentina on Sunday having lost to the South Americans 4-3 in the Opening Round.