Taira strikes out 13 as Japan blanks Curacao

Updated: August 21, 2005, 10:18 PM ET
Associated Press

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Yusuke Taira struck out 13 batters and allowed just three hits and also hit a solo home run to lead Chiba City, Japan (2-0) over defending Little League champion Willemstad, Curacao (1-1), 9-0 on Sunday.

Japan, this year's Asia region champs, took advantage of Takuya Sakamoto's single and consecutive walks to Kisho Watanabe and Yuki Mizuma to load the bases in the first inning against Curacao, which returned to South Williamsport this year by winning the Caribbean division.

Curacao pitcher Dienston Manuela allowed two runs to score on wild pitches and an error brought a third run home for Japan.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press