22/02/2020 - 01/03/2020

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

One month ago: Japan goes undefeated at WBSC U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup 2020

One month ago: Japan goes undefeated at WBSC U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup 2020
01/04/2020
The Japanese pitching staff combined for a 1.59 ERA in 44 innings pitched, allowing only 11 runs (10 earned) in the international tournament.

One month ago, Japan claimed the youth world championship for the third time in history after a spectacular campaign in Palmerston North, New Zealand, going undefeated at the WBSC U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup 2020.

Seven of Japan's nine games ended early due to the mercy rule. Only Mexico (in the Opening round) and Australia (in the Super Round) pushed the World Champions to a full seven innings.

Japan knocked out Denmark in 3 innings (15-0); New Zealand (12-1), Guatemala (12-2) and USA (10-0) in 4 innings; and Argentina (8-1), Czech Republic (8-1) and Australia (9-2, in the World Championship Game) in 5 innings.

Japan outscored their opponents 83-11, averaging 9.22 runs scored per game, versus only 1.22 runs against.

Koki Yagi led the pitching staff with 18 innings of work, winning four games behind a 1.56 ERA, including a 5-inning complete-game effort in the final against Australia. Takuro Inagaki was also impressive in 16 innings pitched (2.19 ERA), with key wins over New Zealand, Mexico and Argentina.

On offence, Japan batted .366 overall. The Asian champions led the tournament in runs scored with 83, eight more than Australia (75) and 31 more than New Zealand (52), who completed the top three.

Japan also showcased their running game, with 16 stolen bases, 9 triples and 4 inside-the-park home runs. The MVP of the tournament, Hitto Nagayoshi, hit 4 triples in the tournament, setting a new record for youth softball world events.

The World Championship Game

World Championship Game boxscore

Japan reached the World Championship Game after sweeping both the Opening Round and the Super Round. However, Australia jumped ahead in the game with an RBI single by Jeremy Garland in the first inning and a solo home run by Caleb Van de Griendt in the second.

Japan's offense woke up from the bottom-half of the second inning, starting with Rui Mimoto's inside-the-park home run. Japan then got three runs in the third inning and five runs in the fourth inning (including a 2-run home run by Masaru Nishimori), as they secured their third softball world title in the men’s youth category with a 9-2 victory over Australia in five innings.

The win saw Japan extend their run as the most successful team in the youth world championships with 11 medals - three gold medals, four silver and four bronze - ahead of Canada with eight - one gold, two silver and five bronze while Australia and New Zealand have seven medals each. Australia leads Japan in the gold medal stakes with five compared to Japan's three.

Having won the inaugural title in 1981, Japan have now won two titles in three editions after beating New Zealand in the 2016 final and losing to Australia in the World Championship game in 2018.