The World Baseball Challenge made history Saturday as the tournament wrapped up at Citizen Field.
With a 5-4 victory against the Roswell Invaders from New Mexico, Team Japan has become the first team in the history of the tournament to go undefeated and claim the gold medal.
Japan was able to score two runs out of the gate as lead-off hitter Shunta Tanaka came around to score, along with Centre Fielder Takuma Haegawa. Japan’s pitching was also stellar as Taisuke Yamaoka put away the first nine of ten batters he faced. That all changed in the fourth inning when Roswell stretched four hits in a row, including a two run homer from Catcher Jim Smith allowing them to go up 4-2.
Japan would add more runs in the sixth after a Tatsuyo Maruko double to make it 4-3 and then another tying run in the ninth inning. Unfortunately, the top of the ninth inning didn’t go in favour of the Invaders and gave Japan the chance to put it away with a tie ball game in the bottom half of the inning.
Japan got on base with two walks and managed to load the bases with two outs. Unfortunately for Roswell, a pass ball was thrown allowing Japan to win the game 5-4 and become 2016 World Baseball Champions.
In the Bronze Medal Game, Canadian Sidearm Nation won against the Thurston County Senators by a score of 10-6.
Photo Courtesy: Tyler Lippingwell