Australia misses opportunity; Japan improves to 2-0
Australia jumped out to a 1-0 lead on an Allan de San Miguel homer in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Even San Miguel wasn’t sure it was out of the park as he stopped at 2nd base looking around for what happened.
Tim Atherton pitched well for Australia. After a jam in the first inning, which looked like he was in trouble with runners at 2nd and 3rd and just one out, he pitched out of it. The biggest thing he did the rest of the way was work quickly and pitch to contact. He did not waste pitches and that allowed him to go deeper in the game with the pitch count at just 65.
Japan tied the game in the top of the 5th, but the big excitement came in the bottom half of the inning. Australia loaded the bases starting with a hit by pitch of Allan de San Miguel. After a strikeout of Trent Oeltjen, Brad Harman singled which prompted Japan to pull its starter Tomoyuki Sugano. Replacing Sugano was Toshiya Okada who quickly loaded the bases with four wide against David Kandilas.
Okada continued his wildness with 2 straight wide to James Beresford, who then bailed out Japan not being patient. Okada had not come close with 6 straight pitches. His first strike wasn’t taken by Beresford, instead it was hit weakly to second base where Japan turned a double play getting out of the inning with no damage done.
After the missed opportunity for Australia, Japan took its first lead of the game in the 7th. Sho Nakata hit a hanging breaking ball from new Aussie pitcher Matt Williams into the left field stands. Japan would add 2 more runs in the top of the 8th inning on a Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh 2-run homer down the right field line scoring Norichika Aoki who had walked.
The loss does not eliminate Australia, but now they must come back strong in their next game against China early on Thursday in Tokyo. Japan now sits in the driver’s seat in the Pool.
Pool B Standings in Tokyo, Japan:
- Japan 2-0
- Cuba 1-1
- Australia 0-1
- China 0-1
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.