A team from Japan captured the Little League World Series baseball title for the second time in three years as Noriatsu Osaka hit three home runs in a 12-2 victory over Goodlettsville, Tennessee.
Osaka also had a triple and drove in four runs as the All-Star team from Kitasuna Little League in Tokyo scored in all five innings yesterday in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
It’s the eighth Little League World Series title for Japan and the second for the Kitasuna All-Stars, who also won a world championship in 2001 by beating a team from Apopka, Florida.
“I just told them to play as usual,” manager Yoichi Kubo, who also led the 2001 team, said yesterday through an interpreter, according to Little League’s website. “I tried to manage as usual, too. I didn’t want to change a thing.”
Osaka, Japan’s leadoff hitter, drove in four runs while Yuta Ishida and Rintaro Hirano each had three runs batted in. Starting pitcher Kotaro Kiyomiya allowed one hit and one run over four innings with eight strikeouts.
Brock Meyers and Lorenzo Butler hit solo homers for Tennessee, which two days ago defeated Petaluma, California, 24-16 in the U.S. championship game.
“We’ll be remembered more for that game,” Tennessee manager Joey Hale said. “They showed a lot of heart, character and determination, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”