Japan will have a shot at redemption in the Little League World Series. The team from Osaka defeated poor-fielding Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, 12-2, today to advance to Saturday's championship game.
Toms River, N.J.'s game with Phenix City, Ala., in the U.S. final was suspended in the top of the second inning because of rain with Toms River leading 2-0. It will resume at 11 a.m. Friday with Toms River's Chris Cunningham on first base, no outs and Bryan Woodall having come in to replace Colby Rasmus at pitcher for Phenix City.
Eric Campesi walked to start the game, took two bases on wild pitches and scored on Casey Gaynor's grounder. Derrick Egan later scored on Mike Casale's grounder. In the next half-inning, Toms River Manager Mike Gaynor started Zack Del Vento but pulled him after a walk and replaced him with Casey Gaynor, his son, who struck out the side.
Japan has a team in the final for the second consecutive year. Kashima lost, 12-9, to Toms River last year in a game with 11 home runs.
Osaka's players avenged a 3-1 loss to Yabucoa on Tuesday mostly by hitting singles and taking extra bases when Yabucoa's fielders faltered.
Sho Nishida ended the game when a two-run single in the bottom of the fifth gave Osaka a 12-2 lead. Little League games end when the margin reaches 10 runs.
With two outs in the first, shortstop Josue Rivera had Sho Nishida's grounder skip over his glove. Two batters later, Kazutoshi Adachi drove home Kazuki Sumiyama with a single to kick off an seven-run inning off losing pitcher Cristian Gonzalez and Francisco DeJesus.