Not team Samurai Japan but a selection of college all-stars is representing Japan. A guarantee for small ball. And that is exactly how the team beat team Kingdom of the Netherlands in extra innings as they won 5-3.
In a very close game, the Dutch eventually ended at the wrong side of the score. In the first three innings both teams kept each other in check. in the fourth, Japan took a 1-0 lead but the Dutch bounced back immediately as they tied the game at one. One inning later, the Dutch took a two-run lead as they scored twice when Denzel Bryson and Gianison Boekhoudt crossed home plate on Rodney Daal’s double to left field.
The Dutch lead did not last too long as Japan tied the game an inning and a half later. A solo home run and a muffed throw allowed Japan to score twice. Kevin Heijstek was tabbed for one of these two runs. In the first five innings of his outing, Heijstek limited Japan to four hits and a run until he’d allow the two runs in the seventh.
After both teams did not score any more in the regular nine innings, extra innings were needed. The dreaded tie-breaker rule was implemented so Japan got runners on first and second with no outs. The Japanese would show Haarlem how small ball is supposed to be played. Ryosuke Aizawa bunted over both runners and with the next play, the runner at second base was left totally unguarded as he was allowed to move all the way past the shortstop. Ryosuke Kodama also laid down a sac bunt that allowed both runners (!) to score.
Even though the Dutch also bunted over their runners in their at-bat, they were denied to score by the Japanese and thus lost the game.
Jim Ploeger and Berry van Driel combined 1.2 innings in which they kept Japan from scoring. Loek van Mil took the loss as he allowed two unearned runs in the tenth.
Rachid Engelhardt was the best Dutch hitter today as he went 2 for 3 with an RBI.