SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT — When Brandon Montes crushed a home run off Japan starter Kazuki Ishida, the big bats of Mexico seemed ready to rumble again.
“I definitely felt chills,” Ishida said. “But I made sure to keep my composure and keep on throwing.”
Taken out after three innings with an eye on a future game, Ishida slammed a tie-breaking home run in the bottom of the fifth inning and unbeaten Tokyo rallied past powerful Tijuana 5-2 on Wednesday to earn a berth in the international championship game at the Little League World Series.
Westport, Conn., faced powerful Chula Vista, Calif., under the lights in Wednesday’s other game in the double-elimination tournament. They were tied at 3 after eight innings.
Ishida’s blast came off Tijuana starter Ramon Mendoza. Kouyou Mizushima followed with an RBI single and pinch-hitter Kyousuke Kobayashi capped the winning rally for Japan (3-0) with an RBI double off the left-center field wall.
“I’m glad that we won. Everybody’s starting to get their groove back,” said Seiya Nishino, whose pinch-hit home run tied it at 2 in the fourth.
Mexico (2-1) still has a shot. It will play Aguadulce, Panama, on Thursday in a rematch. Mendoza hit two of Tijuana’s five home runs in a 13-0 four-inning win over Panama on Sunday in the winners’ bracket. That game was stopped because of Little League’s 10-run rule, the second time Mexico had done that in the World Series.
Not on this day, though.