Japan, the defending champions of the Cal Ripken Major/70 World Series, opened International pool play Saturday with a five-inning drubbing, 12-1, of the Republic of Korea.
The Dominican Republic and Mexico, meanwhile, were equally impressive in their tourney opening international wins. The Dominicans pounded out four home runs en route to a 15-1 win over Australia, while Mexico scored multiple runs in three different innings in a 10-0 win over Canada.
All three games were played on Cal Sr.'s Yard.
In Japan's win, Tomoya Koike's three-run home run broke up a 1-1 tie in the top of the second and teammate Kosuke Ito followed with a solo shot.
Japan added multiple runs in each of the next three innings to post the 11-run win.
Koki Okada, Ryuhie Watanabe, Takashi Nakayama and Ito each had RBI hits in those innings.
Japan was 13-for-13 in stolen base attempts, but did have three runners picked off base.
Korea's only run came in the first. Jun Young Ha scored on a bases loaded walk to Hyeon Su Kim.
Young Soo Yoon had two of Korea's five hits. Sang Hyun Kim had the lone extra-base hit, doubling in the second.
Shunsuke Yano earned the win, working two innings, yielding three hits and two walks, while striking out two. Shoto Yamazaki also threw two innings and Yukiya Tsujii tossed one.
Jun Young Ha took the loss, lasting two innings. Gun Loo Lim, Hyeon Su Kim and Min Gyu Kim also shared mound duty in the loss.
Dominicans hit and win big
In the Dominican victory, the winners were staked to a 7-0 first inning lead on back-to-back-to-back home runs. Luis Almanzar blasted a three-run shot and Nick Ramirez and Pedro Reyes followed with solo blasts.
Christopher Martinez added a solo home run in the fifth and doubled in two more in the sixth.
Australia's lone run came across in the third inning. Ricky Deeble led off with a double and scored on a throwing error by Dominican starting and winning pitcher Reyes.
Dermot Fritsch added a leadoff double for Australia in the fourth, but was stranded there as reliever Pablo Sanchez struck out the next three batters.
Stever Martinez worked the final inning for the winners after a 35-minute rain delay. He struck out the side in order.
Mitchell Driver suffered the loss, pitching to nine batters in the first. Driver surrendered all three home runs and six hits in total. Flynn Stallworthy, Wade Chant and Jack O'Loughlin also saw action on the mound.
Mexico solid in shutout
Mexico combined solid hitting and pitching to shut out Canada in the finale.
The bats produced 11 hits, for three runs in the first, three in the third and four in the fourth.
Ismael Guerrero led the offense with two hits and three RBIs. Juan Escarpita and Sergio Gaxiola also had two hits each and two RBIs and one RBI respectively. Escarpita also scored three runs.
Kyle Bloor had Canada's lone hit, a single in the second inning off winning pitcher Oscar Contreras, who struck out three over three innings. Jesus Calvo pitched one inning in relief, striking out all three batters faced.
Mikey Clapperton pitched all four innings for Canada, allowing 10 runs (seven earned) on 11 hits and two walks . He also struck out four.