SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pennsylvania (AP) — Japan has moved one step closer to defending its title at the Little League World Series.
Hamamatsu City starter Shoto Totsuka combined with relievers Hiroyasu Sugiura and Takuya Okamoto to five-hit Langley, British Columbia in a 4-0 win Tuesday. Japan moves on to play either Mexico or Venezuela on Thursday.
A team from Tokyo won the World Series last year.
Earlier, Cumberland, Rhode Island, had a 8-7 win over the Netherlands in a consolation game after Colin Cannata scored on an error in the bottom of the sixth.
An earthquake centered in Virginia briefly rattled Lamade Stadium but play never stopped. A Little League official said the venue was deemed safe after a structural engineer’s inspection.
Japan initially had trouble adjusting to Canada starter Cole Cantelon at the plate, managing just a walk over two innings, but finally got the bats going in the third.
Second baseman Ken Igeta had an RBI double to start the scoring in the three-run third, and catcher Asuya Otsuka added an RBI triple.
Shoto Totsuka struck out four over two innings before giving way to relievers Hiroyasu Sugiura and Takuya Okamoto.
"It was a very fast fastball, but his location and his tempo were hard to time," Sigiura said of Cantelon.
Nick Atkinson led Canada with three hits, while Yi Fan Pan added two singles. Cantelon gave up four runs and six hits in 4 2-3 innings, and coach Jason Andrews said his starter pitched well except for losing control of his curveball in the middle of the game.
"We lost to the defending champs 4-0. We held our own," Andrews said when asked how his team handled elimination. "It’s been a while since Canada did that. I think we represented very well. They’re very upbeat, very happy with the way they played.
The central Pennsylvania favorites from the Keystone Little League were playing Warner Robins, Georgia, in the night match.