Staring at a 10-2 deficit after the first inning, Japan then blitzed the group from Red Land Little League in Lewisberry, Pennsylvania, with 16 runs over the final five innings to capture the 2015 Little League world championship in an 18-11 victory.
The United States remains without a Little League title since the victory by Huntington Beach, California, in 2011.
The ball was flying out of Howard J. Lamade Stadium in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, as the two teams combined for seven home runs in the final. According to the Cauldron, the 86 home runs in this year’s World Series beat the previous tournament record of 76.
For neutral observers, the title game had a little bit of everything, per Little League:
Although the two teams hadn’t yet met on the field in Williamsport, Red Land’s Braden Kolmansberger revealed the players were well-acquainted with one another before Sunday, per Geoff Morrow of PennLive.com:
Perhaps that familiarity played a role in the offensive explosion.
Japan was likely feeling good with its start to the game. A double from KabuKikuchi gave the international champion a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.
Then Red Land dropped 10 runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Following an error on Japan shortstop Yugo Aoki and two walks, Red Land loaded the bases with nobody out. Back-to-back singles from ChaytonKrauss and Ethan Phillips brought home two runs to tie the game at 2-2. After KadenPeifer struck out, Jake Cubbler walked to put Red Land ahead 3-2.
Dylan Rodenhaber stepped to the plate next and emptied the bases with a grand slam to right field. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf was following the action with rapt attention and was happy to see his home state jump into a 7-2 lead:
The Baltimore Orioles were also rooting on their fellow Americans:
JadenHenline tacked on three more runs with a home run to center field.
Broad Street Beat thought the Red Land team should make the roughly two-and-a-half-hour trip to Philadelphia to offer some help to its MLB counterpart:
Japan wasted little time chipping away at the eight-run deficit. After back-to-back singles in the top of the second by RaitoSugimoto and HayatoYumisashi, Aoki atoned for his error with a three-run home run to right field.
Kengo and ShingoTomita followed suit, giving Japan back-to-back-to-back home runs in the second, which got the team right back into the game down just three runs, 10-7.
And Japan wasn’t done either. A two-run double from MasafujiNishijima made it just a one-run game, 10-9, nearly completing a remarkable comeback. Henline was able to get out of the inning before that could happen.
After Red Land couldn’t add any runs in the bottom of the second, ShingoTomita tied the game at 10-10 with two outs in the top of the third inning. Three batters later, Nishijima drilled a three-run home run to center field to give Japan its first lead since the first inning, 13-10. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the 23 combined runs tied the LLWS championship record.
Andrew Callahan of the Lebanon Daily News noted how close Henline was to exiting the third with the two teams still tied:
Kolmansberger scored a run in the bottom of the third on an error on Japan third baseman DaikiFukuyama, but Red Land was unable to do any more damage in the inning.
PennLive.com’s Tim Leone made light of the score, which was more in line with a football game rather than the LLWS world championship:
After both teams went scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings, Japan padded its lead with five insurance runs in the top of the sixth.
While Nishijima, Kengo and ShingoTomita and Aoki will earn deserved praise for their combined work at the plate Saturday, NobuyukiKawashima‘s performance in relief can’t be overlooked. Over the final five innings, he allowed just one unearned run on two hits.
Kawashima entered the game at a time when his team badly needed stability on the mound, and he delivered in spades.
U.S. fans will have to wait another year for an American team to bring home the world title in Williamsport. The four-year gap is the longest since 1994-97, when Venezuela, Taiwan and Mexico all had a run with the LLWS championship.
Nathan Eovaldi, supported by three early home runs, extended his league-leading winning streak to nine games in the New York Yankees’ 20-6 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday at Turner Field. All images and written content is property of the listed RSS FEED if you would like more on this story and images please click the listed feed. http://newyork.cbslocal.com/feed/
ESPN’s Dianna Russini and Adam Schefter reported the front office and coaching staff have seen enough from Griffin to determine he’s not the long-term answer under center. That isn’t stopping the likes of owner Daniel Snyder and Co. from blocking such a development from occurring.
Outside of ownership, those in the Redskins organization are “determined” to not start Griffin in the season opener at Miami, presumably handing the reins to Kirk Cousins. The report explains how Griffin has a fully guaranteed $16.1 million salary in 2016 for injury only, which could lead to Washington releasing him before then.
The personnel people in place to run Snyder’s team would seem to have the most informed judgment in terms of how to handle the most important position on the field. Snyder’s meddlesome nature and willingness to make a big splash has backfired in the past, and he’s consistently stood by Griffin despite the young signal-caller’s struggles in recent years.
Washington sacrificed a second-round pick and two additional first-round choices to trade up to No. 2 overall and draft Griffin in 2012. It seemed to be worth the cost at first, as Griffin’s electric rookie campaign resulted in an NFC East title and NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
But in the postseason that followed, Griffin tore his ACL and LCL and hasn’t been the same since.
Griffin’s first NFL head coach in Mike Shanahan felt undermined by Griffin and Snyder and was essentially railroaded out of town. Current coach Jay Gruden hasn’t exactly enjoyed a great relationship with RG3 either and went 4-12 last season in his first year at the helm.
Premature coronation was a cursed component of Griffin’s instant NFL impact. Ill-advised public statements have contributed to his declining likability, such as the bold comments he made earlier this month, per WJLA.com’s Alex Parker:
I feel like I’m the best quarterback in the league and I have to go out and show that…Any athlete at any level, if they concede to someone else, they’re not a top competitor, they’re not trying to be the best that they can be. There’s guys in this league that have done way more than me. But, I still view myself as the best because that’s what I work toward every single day.
Washington’s answer would seem to be to plug Cousins in no matter what ownership says about Griffin. ESPN Stats & Info highlighted how neither he nor Griffin had much success to speak of in 2014:
Griffin’s time with Washington since bursting onto the scene in his first year as a pro has been marred by dysfunction and lackluster performance on the gridiron. Both sides could certainly use a fresh start based on the recent unsavory results.
General manager Scot McCloughan is in his first year in his post, and Sunday’s report named him as a possible X-factor in ultimately determining Griffin’s fate. Whether McCloughan has the power to do so is another matter.
Until Snyder stops interfering, it’s going to be difficult for Griffin to fall back into favor with his teammates and coaches—and to focus on football in general. The writing seems to be on the wall that the rocky relationship with Griffin and the Redskins will come to a conclusion soon enough.
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