Israel 000 000 003 3 5 0 Japan 000 005 03X 8 13 1
Samurai Japan scored five runs in the sixth in an 8-3 win over Israel to conclude the second round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic at the Tokyo Dome. Japan and the Netherlands will advance to the semi-finals, going to Los Angeles for next week’s grand finale of the tournament. Both teams also qualified for the semis in 2013, but got eliminated by the Dominican Republic respective Puerto Rico.
On Wednesday evening at a packed Tokyo Dome Japan needed until the bottom of the sixth to break a scoreless tie against the miracle team of the event. Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh led off the frame with a solo home run, initiating a five-run rally.
Hayato Sakamoto, Seiya Suzuki, Nobuhiro Matsuda and Seiji Kobayashi also scored. A two-run double by Seiichi Uchikawa and a RBI single by Matsuda even raised the gap to 8-0 in the bottom of the eighth. Israel didn’t go down without a fight. In the top of the ninth they avoided the shutout with a two-out RBI single by Ike Davis and a two-run double by Ryan Lavarnway.
On the mound Israel had chosen probably their best pitcher as starter. Josh Zeid, who was used as closer earlier in the tournament, conceded four hits and two walks in four innings, but kept the zero on the scoreboard. Japan then got to Dylan Axelrod, who took the loss.
Japan still had the upper hand on pitching, allowing just two hits and a walk in the first eight innings. Starter Kodai Senga pitched five scoreless one-hit, one-walk frames. Yoshihisa Hirano picked up the win.