Okinawa, Japan, forged an early nine-run lead, then had to rally in the seventh inning to come from behind and defeat Bayamon, Puerto Rico, 11-10, in an error-filled, but wildly entertaining elimination game Wednesday morning at the Pony League World Series.
The win advanced Okinawa into the championship game.
Bayamon scored the game’s first two runs on a homer by Mario Feliciano, then saw Okinawa respond with nine answered runs to take a seemingly safe 9-2 lead into the fifth inning. Bayamon, however, battled back and scored eight consecutive runs. The Caribbean Zone champion eventually took the lead at 10-9 in the top of the seventh inning on a solo home run by Feliciano, his second of the game and record-setting sixth homer of the World Series.
In the bottom of the seventh, winning pitcher Kaito Miyagi started Okinawa’s winning rally with a single. Tomoki Nato followed with a pinch-hit bunt single, and an error on a sacrifice bunt by Takato Nakamoto loaded the bases. A throwing error – the 11th error of the game – allowed the tying run to score, and Tatsumi Higashionna ended the thrilling contest with a game-winning single that scored Nato.
Bayamon’s comeback was jump-started in the fifth inning. Alexander Vazquez highlighted a four-run inning with home run. In the sixth, Kristopher Gonzalez hit a two-run homer and a balk forced in another run that tied the score at 9-9.
Feliciano’s six home runs broke the record originally set in 1957 by Jerry Register of Lufkin, Texas and matched three times since. Though no such statistic has been recorded, Bayamon might have set a World Series record by having eight different players hit at least one home run. The hard-hitting team did tie the record with its 17 home runs.
Los Mochia 11, Chesterfield County 0: Los Mochis, Mexico, scored six runs in the third inning and punched its ticket to the championship game with an 11-0 five-inning victory over Chesterfield County, Va., in the afternoon elimination game.
Los Mochis hit three home runs over the first three innings, including a three-run shot by winning pitcher Luis Antonio Acosta in the third. Acosta gave up two hits in the first inning, but Chesterfield County managed only three baserunners the rest of the game. Acosta finished with a four-hitter, striking out six and issuing only one walk.
Javier Lopez hit two solo home runs and tied the World Series record – which had been set earlier in the day – with six in the tournament.