Team USA Bats Quieted in Super Round Loss to Japan

The team mustered only two hits and two walks in six innings

Cumulative Stats

TAINAN, Taiwan - Team USA suffered its first defeat of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-12 Baseball World Cup Super Round on Friday morning, falling to Japan by a final score of 7-0 after failing to get anything done on offense against opposing starter Osuke Minakawa.

Minakawa was the star of the show throughout, blanking an American lineup that came into the game scoring the most runs per game of any team in the tournament by a significant margin. The young righty finished 5.1 scoreless innings on the mound, only allowing two hits and two walks while striking out eight Team USA hitters.

On the other side of the ball, the stars and stripes fell into a hole right from the outset thanks to some big hits by Japan. Shortstop Daito Funayama led off the ballgame with a solo home run into right field off of starter Bowen Landry, and in the fifth, Renji Tachibani lifted a two-run blast deep into left to put the game out of reach for good.

With the loss, Team USA fell to 5-2 on the tournament overall and 2-2 against its fellow Super Round opponents.

How It Happened

  • Japan jumped out to an early 1-0 lead thanks to the leadoff home run by Funayama.
  • Team USA's first chance of the game came in the bottom of the first, when a Nicholis Parker Jr. base hit and a Bryant Ju walk put two runners on with two outs. Minakawa escaped this jam unscathed, though, getting Zaylon Johnson to ground out sharply to first base to end the frame.
  • Japan would add on early in the second, using a leadoff error followed by two straight doubles to bring in another and chase Landry from the game.
  • Japan would keep going from there against reliever Julian Knudsen, continuing the rally with a two-RBI single by Masaya Yabuuchi and a sacrifice fly by Ren Mitsui to make it a four-run inning. The latter, however, turned into an unconventional triple play that spared Team USA any further damage after some confusion on whether left fielder Gavin Gomez caught the ball led to two separate runners leaving their bases early.
  • Team USA threatened again in the third with its best opportunity of the day, placing two more on base with one out after Parker Jr. was hit by a pitch and Tyler Early roped a base hit into left. Nothing came of it again, however, as Leyland Henry flew out and Ju struck out to strand the runners.
  • Japan added its sixth and seventh runs of the day in the fifth inning, when Tachibani got a hanging breaking ball on a 2-2 pitch and crushed it for the team's second homer of the day.
  • From there, Team USA went down quietly in the last inning, getting a runner on but failing to capitalize against Mitsui after he came on in relief for Minakawa with two outs to go.

Of Note

  • Parker Jr. was the lone Team USA hitter to reach base multiple times, leading off the first inning with a base hit and reaching via a hit-by-pitch in the third.
  • The only other hit of the day was recorded by Early, while the team's two walks were drawn by Henry and Ju.
  • Kingston George impressed in relief, allowing just one walk and no hits while striking out two in his 1.1 innings of work.

On Deck

Team USA will wrap up the Super Round on Saturday in a must-win game against Chinese Taipei, who remain undefeated as of Friday afternoon. The start of the game is scheduled for 6:30 P.M. local time/6:30 A.M. ET.