Japan sweeps Team Europe in Global Baseball Games
07/03/2024 3 Minute Read

Japan sweeps Team Europe in Global Baseball Games

After a 5-0 shutout the night prior, Samurai Japan delivered the one-two punch with a 2-0 combined no-hit perfect game shutout over Team Europe in the second of the Global Baseball Games at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Japan on Thursday, March 7, 2024

The CARNEXT SAMURAI JAPAN SERIES Global Baseball Games did not disappoint hardcore Samurai Japan fans as the top-ranked country dominated from start to finish sweeping Team Europe after its second consecutive win on Thursday, March 7, 2024 in front of a near capacity crowd at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka. 

Samurai Japan starter Yumeto Kanemaru is a hard-throwing 20-year-old lefty in his senior year at nearby Kensai University. He is regarded as one of the top Japanese collegiate prospects with a fastball touching the mid-90’s. Team Europe countered with German veteran pitcher and former minor leaguer Markus Solbach.

The Team Europe lineup looked like this: 

Delano Selassa, RF; Marek Chlup, CF; Alex Liddi, 3B; Martin Cervenka, DH; Daniel Jimenez, LF; Gabriel Lino, C; Sharlon Schoop, 2B; Martin Muzik, 1B; Edison Valerio, SS and Markus Solbach, P.

Samurai Japan came close to scoring in the top of the first inning. After Misho Nishikawa led off with an infield single, Kensuke Kondoh was issued a walk. Then Shota Morishita hit into a 5-4-3 double play initiated by third baseman Alex Liddi. A flyout to left field by Munetaka Murakami stranded one runner on third base. 

Japan starter Yumeto Kanemaru looked impressive early, striking out Delano Selassa and Marek Chlup before Alexi Liddi grounded out to third base in the bottom of the first inning. 

Unfazed by the first inning, Team Europe starter Markus Solbach returned to pitch the top of the second inning. An Alex Liddi infield error allowed Shunsuki Tamura to reach second base. He advanced to third base on a fielder’s choice by Kotaro Kurebayashi. A walk to Takumu Nakano put runners on the corners. Yuudai Yamamoto followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to put Japan on top 1-0. 

Pitcher Yumeto Kanemaru kept the Team Europe offense off balance in the bottom of the second inning, striking out Martin Cervenka and Gabriel Lino.

Reliever Lars Huijer replaced Markus Solbach on the mound to pitch a scoreless top of the third inning with one strikeout. Japan went to the bullpen and summoned relief pitcher Yuto Nakamura, who also threw a scoreless bottom of the third inning with one strikeout.

Despite Takumu Nakano connecting with a double down the left field line in the top of the fourth inning, Lars Huijer escaped trouble and kept the Japanese off the board. 

Reliever Shina Matsuyama entered the contest in the bottom of the fourth inning and held Team Europe scoreless with a strikeout of Delano Selassa. 

The Europeans brought out Tiago da Silva to pitch an effective top of the fifth inning. Quick strikeouts of Misho Nishikawa and pinch hitter Yasutaka Shiomi were followed by a Shota Morishita groundout.Japan relief pitcher Shota Watanabe threw a scoreless bottom of the fifth inning with strikeouts of Martin Cervenka and Gabriel Lino. 

Tiago da Silva appeared in control in the top of the sixth inning with a strikeout of Kaito Kozono before giving up a single to Shunsuke Tamura, who was caught stealing at second base to rob Japan of a potential scoring opportunity.

Protecting a slim 1-0 lead, lefty reliever Chihiro Sumida appeared in the bottom of the sixth inning and struck out the side of Sharlon Schoop, Martin Muzik and Edison Valerio.

Team Europe reliever Fernando Baez pitched a scoreless top of the seventh inning with one strikeout to keep the game close. Chihiro Sumida returned to pitch a perfect bottom of the seventh inning. Center fielder Misho Nishikawa denied Delano Selassa of the European's first hit of the contest with a diving catch. Then Marek Chlup struck out and Alex Liddi grounded out to short.

In the top of the eighth inning, Fernando Baez gave up a double to Chusei Mannami and a walk to Kaito Kozono before being relieved by Matteo Bocchi. He got Shunsuke Tamura to popup to first baseman Martin Muzik before an infield error by shortstop Edison Valerio on a sharp grounder hit by Kotaro Kuribayashi cost one run and gave Japan the 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, reliever Atsuki Taneichi induced three quick groundouts, including a sharply hit ball from pinch hitter Ricardo Paolini that was deflected by the pitcher to the shortstop for the third out.

Team Europe brought out relief pitcher Kevin Kelly in the top of the ninth inning, and he did not allow a hit thanks to a great play by third baseman Alex Liddi,

Atsuki Taneichi returned to pitch the bottom of the ninth inning. Strikeouts of Wander Encarnacion, Martin Muzik and Jeremi Profar secured the 2-0 combined no-hit perfect game shutout for Japan.


by Roberto Angotti

(Photo of action from the second of the Global Baseball Games between Team Europe and Japan at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka on March 7, 2024 by WBSC)