Kiuchi's 10th-inning homer pushes Japan past Chinese Taipei

Updated: August 23, 2007, 10:08 PM ET
Associated Press

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Junsho Kiuchi raised his arms in triumph after rounding first after his 10th-inning homer sailed over the left-field fence to give undefeated Japan (3-0) a dramatic 4-3 victory over Chinese Taipei on Thursday at the Little League World Series.

Kiuchi got the win, too, after striking out nine in five-plus innings of relief.

But after the game, his at-bats were the first topic of conversation.

"I could have hit it two other times, so the third time I wanted to get a hit to decide the game," he said through an interpreter.

Players for Taiwan (2-2) leaned down near the third-base line, heads hung down after the game, stunned after leading 2-0 early on. The game was an inning short of the longest Little League World Series contest ever played.

Japan tied the game at 3 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth after Kazutaka Kato lined a hard shot to center that fell just in front of center fielder Chung-Yen Chen. The relay went to second, allowing Yuya Fukushima to score.

Kiuchi said he caught Rosalia's game-winner on TV. Asked which one was better, he smiled and answered shyly, "Of course, mine."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press