International Division pool play at the Cal Ripken Major 70 World Series in Aberdeen wrapped up on Wednesday evening with an upset at Cal Sr.'s Yard, as the Dominican Republic (3-2) topped two-time defending champ Japan (4-1), in a 9-8 slugfest.
Leading 9-1 after four innings of play, the Dominican squad surrendered six runs in the fifth, then watched as Japan got within one run in the bottom of bottom of the sixth. Dominican reliever Gregorio Luperon was able to retire the side and preserve the victory before Japan could push the tying run across.
The winning side's big bat belonged to Tommy Almonte, who went 1-for-1 with a homer, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Japan's Ryugo Komachi went 1-for-2 with two RBIs and one run scored.
Dominican starter Raymond Vargas held Japan to one earned run on two hits over two innings of work to earn the win.
Mexico rebounds for win over Korea
Omar Cervantes belted a grand slam and Mexico (4-1) pounded out 17 hits en route to a 11-3 win over Republic of Korea (3-2), Wednesday at Nationals Park.
The Cerventes bomb was part of a eight-run fifth inning. An inning Mexico came into trailing, 3-2. Jose Zepeda and Hiram Magana also homered for Mexico.
Zepeda finished with three hits, while Kevin Garcia, Bryan Castro, Marco Martinez and Sebastian Polo each had two hits. Martin Olivas had just one hit, but three RBIs.
With Wednesday's final games in pool play in the books, Mexico will play Korea at 12:30 p.m. Friday in one international semifinal game and Japan and Dominican Republic will have a rematch in the other semifinal at 5:30 p.m.
Canadians beat Aussies
Canada (1-4) pounded out 14 hits and scored multiple runs in each even inning Wednesday in a 16-8 rout of Australia (0-5) at Cal Sr.'s Yard.
Canada scored five runs in the second inning, six in the fourth and then closed out the game with five more in the sixth. Tyler McWillie did much of the damage for Canada, banging out two hits and driving in five runs. One of the hits was a fourth inning grand slam.
Rayce Wilkinson added a three-run blast and finished with two hits and four RBis. Kye Seitz and Davis Pratt also had two hits for Canada.
Lincoln Kempton led Australia with two hits and two RBIs, while Lachlan Giullieri added a pair of hits and one RBI. Ky Hampton had a double and two RBIs.
Japan blanks Mexico Tuesday
In the marquee matchup of Tuesday's pool play schedule at the Cal Ripken World Series in Aberdeen, Japanese hurler Kosuke Morimoto held the Mexican national squad to a pair of hits and recorded 12 strikeouts in his team's 5-0 victory.
The game, scheduled for 8 p.m. at Cal Sr.'s Yard, started over an hour late because the previous contest was stalled by heavy rains.
If the delay caused Morimoto any jitters, it did not show, as he struck out the first two batters he faced. Morimoto allowed a single in the first, another base hit in the second, and walked the leadoff man in the fourth, but otherwise was perfect.
What turned out to be the game-winning hit came in the bottom of the first, when Japan's Yu Inaba stroked a two-run homer over the left field fence.
Ryugo Komachi, the lone player on either team with multiple hits, went 2-for-2 with a double, one RBI and one run scored. Akito Shozu, who got on base with a single prior to Inaba's home run, finished with two runs scored.
The victory put Japan at the top of the heap in the International Division at 4-0, while previously unbeaten Mexico fell to 3-1 going in to the final day of pool play on Wednesday.
Dominicans battle back
The Dominican Republic squad won a back-and-forth battle with Canada on Tuesday in International Division play at the Ripken World Series, scoring twice in its final turn at the plate to edge out the Canadians, 9-8.
The victory put the Dominicans at 2-2 in International Division pool play, while Canada fell to 0-4.
Playing at Nationals Park in their Tuesday matchup, the Dominican boys found themselves down, 6-2, after two innings, but managed to tie things with a four-run rally in the bottom of the third. Canada, down 7-6 after the Dominican Republic scored once in the bottom of the fourth, scored twice in the top of the sixth to jump back ahead, 8-7.
The Dominicans notched the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Jimmy Mojica led the winning side's offense, going 1-for-2 with a homer, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Canada's Colton Girard went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Gregorio Luperon picked up the win pitching in relief, as he retired the final two hitters in the bottom of the sixth to preserve his team's victory.
Korea over Australia
Republic of Korea (3-1) was outhit, 9-4, but it was one of those four hits that propelled it to a 5-2 win at Cal Sr.'s Yard.
Korea scored all five runs in the top of the third inning, highlighted by Tae Gyun Lee's grand slam. The other run scored on an error.
Australia (0-4) stranded six baserunners before finally scoring twice in its final at bat. Jo Stevens doubled and scored on Chris Burke's RBI single. Rhys Dewick belted a ground rule double to move Burke to third, where he scored from on a wild pitch.
Callum Park had two hits for Australia.