Japan walked off over Panama, 5-4, at Ed Smith Stadium in group B of the opening round of the 30th WBSC Baseball World Cup on September 11, JST in Florida, the U.S. Japan had three consecutive victories and became the solo leader in group B.
In the third, Japan made a chance with runners on the first and second bases and out after the first batter Shogo Asano, got an infield single to the third baseman, and the second batter Junpei Yasuda drew a base on balls. Japan broke on top with Panama's throwing error to deal with a sac bunt of the third batter Shion Matsuo. In addition, the fourth batter Yuta Utsumi hit an RBI single to the left field, and the fifth batter Yudai Ebine had a sacrifice fly to the center field to score a run. Japan got four runs in the inning.
Japanese starting pitcher lefty Tessei Morimoto made the game with five hits and two runs in five frames. Japanese shortstop Hotaka Mitsuhiro, second-baseman Hayato Akahori, and third-baseman Kai Watabe had excellent fielding, which helped Morimoto.
Righty Kaito Noda retired the three batters in order. Righty Haruto Yamada, who took the mound for the first time, gave up two hits and two runs to tie the score, 4-4, in the top of the seventh.
But, at the bottom of the seventh, Yuta Utsumi finally hit a walk-off sacrifice fly to the center field in a bases-loaded situation made by an error of Panama's shortstop for a ground ball Akahari hit, Asano's walk, and Kuroda's hit-by-pitch.
Japan will meet Australia at 8 am on September 13, JST / at 4 pm on September 12 local time.
Game results: Group A: Netherlands 3-2 Canada, Brazil 2-11 Korea Group B: Australia 2-13 Chinese Taipei, Italy 7-12 Mexico Japan 5x-4 Panama