SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pennsylvania--Tokyo produced strong pitching, solid defense and powerful bats to reach the International final at the World Series with a 4-1 victory over Aguadulce, Panama on Aug. 22.
In the late game, Goodlettsville, Tennessee, scratched out two late runs to beat San Antonio, Texas, 4-3 and reach U.S. final on Aug. 25.
Kotaro Kiyomiya homered in the first inning and starting pitcher Ryuji Osada struck out seven batters for the Japanese team.
The left-handed Kiyomiya displayed prodigious power for a 13-year-old slugger. His blast landed nearly halfway up the hill beyond the right-field wall, about 310 feet from the plate.
“As soon as I hit it I knew it was a home run,'' he said through an interpreter. “That's why I didn't take off quickly.''
Panama finally got on the board in the fifth after Edwin Nieto hustled around first to score on a double by Daniel Cruz and an error.
But Osada got the next batter to ground weakly too short to end the threat.
Cole Carter had an RBI single after Luke Rucker scored the tying run from second on a throwing error to send Goodlettsville to the final.
Texas scored twice in the fifth before Tennessee rallied with its late-game heroics.
Reliever Luke Brown closed it out with a double play, and giddy Tennessee players celebrated in front of their dugout with wide smiles while kneeling on the ground as friends and families cheered from the stands.
Aguadulce moves into the elimination game against Mexico on Aug. 23, with the winner facing Japan in the international final on Aug. 25.
San Antonio next plays Petaluma, California to decide the other U.S. finalist.
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