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Japan Advances to LL Championship Game

August 23, 2003

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) _ A Japanese team reached the Little League World Series championship game for the third straight year as Tokyo beat the Netherlands Antilles 14-6 Saturday.

Eito Ono hit a three-run homer during an eight-run fourth inning and Yuutaro Tanaka homered twice for Tokyo (5-0).

The win marked the third year in a row Japan beat a club from Curacao (3-2) to win the international title.

``That was the first time we were concerned in a game,″ Tokyo manager Masumi Ohmae said through a translator. His team had outscored its previous opponents 35-2.

Later Saturday, Saugus, Mass., was scheduled to play Boynton Beach, Fla., for the U.S. championship. Saugus beat Boynton Beach 4-3 on Monday in pool play.

The world championship game was scheduled for Sunday night.

``I thought we had to play the perfect game, and our pitchers need to keep the ball low and get ground balls,″ Curacao manager Michelangelo Celestina said. ``They got them up high, so you saw a lot of home runs and hits.″

Hirofumi Yamazaki’s RBI single broke a 5-all tie in the fourth and Ippei Endoh’s bunt single scored another run. Ono’s home run to center field broke open the game, and the final run of the inning scored on an infield error.

Tanaka hit a leadoff homer in the sixth for a 14-5 lead. Kevin Moesquit hit an RBI double in the bottom half for Curacao.

Tanaka’s three-run homer in the first was one of the longest of the series, flying some 275 feet. The outfield wall at the ballpark is 205 feet.

Masato Komuro (2-0) relieved in the third and got the win. Edelcumy Jansen (0-1) took the loss.

Jonathan Schoop hit an RBI double off the left-field wall in the second as Curacao pulled to 3-1.

Endoh’s two-run homer in the third made it 5-1. Curacao tied it in the fourth on Carol de Palm’s three-run homer after Rojean Cleofa had an RBI grounder.

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