That's Kazuki with a "K."
Kazuki Sumiyama struck out nine as Osaka, Japan, beat Phenix City, Ala., 5-0, today in the championship game of the Little League World Series.
Sumiyama, a soft-spoken 12-year-old whose favorite U.S. player is Mark McGwire, struck out three of Phenix City's first four batters and had a total of 19 strikeouts in his two appearances. And he can hit, too, batting .615 in the two wins.
"He was hard to hit off of," said Phenix City shortstop Brandon Monk, who was 0 for 3 with a strikeout. "He would hide the ball really well with his hand, and it was hard to pick up. Plus, he throws really hard."
"The kids were coming back to the dugout and saying, 'The ball's just jumping out at us,' " Phenix City Manager Tony Rasmus said.
U.S. teams have won only six of the last 20 Little League series.
"I really wanted to win the whole thing," Monk said.
Only Zach Martin and Cory Rasmus got hits, both singles, off Sumiyama, who throws a fastball and variations his teammates call the "Kazuball" and the "Thunderball." His coaches say he is shy even back home in Osaka and that he already is being recruited by Japanese high schools.
The 5-foot-7, 122-pound Sumiyama, or "Sumi" to his friends, did not allow a run in 11 innings in the series. His father was home in Osaka running the family liquor store today, but his mother made the trip to Williamsport along with seven other parents of team members.