Japan Wins Ripken World Series Championship
International baseball power Japan was back in a very familiar and comfortable position – World Champions.
Japan played a nearly flawless game to win the 2016 Cal Ripken Major/70 World Series Championship, beating United States Champion, Kennewick, Washington, 7-0.
Japan pitching dominated the Washington hitters, limiting them to two hits, while recording 11 strikeouts.
Keito Matsuura tossed four innings of two hit ball, striking out nine. Reliever Hiroki Hayashi worked two hitless innings, striking out two.
Japan, meanwhile, wasted no time getting its offense rolling, banging out three singles in the top of the first and scoring a pair of runs.
Hirotaka Saitoh led off with a single and Soshi Yoshino followed with a high chopper off the glove of Washington third baseman Ivan Palomino. Ryoma Ikeda hit a shallow pop fly foul that first baseman Gage Ackerman fielded, but Saitoh tagged up on the catch and raced home with the first run. Kairi Matsumura, the pitching hero in the International Champion win over Puerto Rico, added a line drive single up the middle to plate Yoshino with the second run.
Matsumura, who was named the International Most Valuable Player, added a two-run single in the third and to that point, there was no display of power.
Japan, however, brought out the extra-base hits against Washington reliever Cash Hailey in the fourth. Kenta Nozaki greeted Hailey with a long home run to right-center field and an out later; Mikuta Katayama (2 for 2) and Keito Matsuura hit back-to-back doubles to push the lead 6-0.
Matsumura (2 for 2) added his fourth RBI of the night in the fifth, hitting a sacrifice fly that scored Ikeda. Ikeda had singled and was at third on an errant pickoff attempt.
Washington’s Simeon Howard hit a first inning double for his 13th hit of the Series. That is a Cal Ripken World Series record for most hits in a series.
Ivan Palomino had the other hit for Washington, a third inning single.
Myles Mayovsky, the first of four Washington pitchers, took the loss in three innings on the mound.
Team Pacific Northwest – 2016 Cal Ripken Major/70 US Champion
Kennewick defeated Honolulu, Hawaii, the team from the Pacific Southwest, by a score of 10-2 to cinch the US Championship.
Early in the inning, leadoff hitter and catcher Trevor Ridley drew a walk to start things off. Pitcher Simeon Howard singled to follow that up. Ben Johnson drove both of them in with a double. Kennewick would later add another run, scoring three runs to go up 3-0 after the top of the first inning.
In the bottom half of the first, Honolulu responded quickly by loading the bases. However, they only managed to score one run, thanks to an outstanding pitching performance by Simeon Howard.
In the top of the second inning, Trevor Ridley brought the Kennewick crowd to its feet, launching a two-run home run over the left field wall. That extended their lead to 5-1. The players awaited Trevor at the plate. High-fives and fist bumps got the team fired up early.
Kennewick wouldn’t take their foot off the gas pedal, scoring two runs in the third inning, and adding two more in the fourth. One more run crossed the plate for Kennewick in the fifth innings.
Honolulu did not go away quietly. They led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a solo home run by Peyton Hino, then quickly added two base runners with no outs, trying to trim the lead any way they could.
With Honolulu threatening to cut the lead, Kennewick pitcher Howard struck out two batters and forced a ground out, doing no further damage.
In the bottom of the sixth with Honolulu down to its final three outs, Connor Mendez came out to the mound to pitch. He struck out the first two batters he faced. For the final out, the ball was hit to Howard in center field, where he was playing for the final inning while Mendez was pitching.
As soon as he caught the ball, players from Kennewick started throwing their gloves and celebrating with the team running towards each other and the coaches on the third base side.