2002 Japan National Little League® Tournament Results
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All-Japan Tournament
Major Baseball Division

Toward the past

Toward the present

36th Annual All-Japan Tournament
Championship Game at Edogawa-Ku Stadium; Tokyo

Participating Teams Prefecture League
Hokkaido Champions Hokkaido Sapporo Shinkotoni LL
Tohoku Champions Miyagi Sendai Higashi LL
Shinetsu Champions Nagano Obuse LL
Kitakanto Champions Saitama Omiya LL
Higashikanto Representative I Chiba Ichikawa LL
Higashikanto Representative II Ibaraki Daigo LL
Tokyo Champions Tokyo Edogawa LL
Tokyo Runner-Up Tokyo Musashi Fuchu LL
Kanagawa Champions Kanagawa Hiratsuka LL
Tokai Champions Gifu Gifu Tohno LL
Tokai Runner-Up Shizuoka Hamamatsu Minami LL
Kansai Champions Hyogo Takarazuka LL
Kansai Runner-Up Osaka Toyonaka LL
Chugoku Champions Hiroshima Hiroshima Nishi LL
Shikoku Champions Ehime Saijo LL
Kyushu Champions Fukuoka Yukuhashi LL

Tournament Results:

Opening Round (Saturday, July 6):
Hamamatsu Minami 8, Yukuhashi 0
Omiya 6, Edogawa 5
Toyonaka 21, Ichikawa 3
Sendai Higashi 15, Hiroshima Nishi 1
Gifo Tohno 10, Sapporo Shinkotoni 0
Hiratsuka 9, Saijou 1
Takarazuka 10, Musashi Fuchu 3
Daigo 8, Obuse 2

Quarterfinal Round (Saturday, July 6):
Omiya 6, Hamamatsu Minami 5
Sendai Higashi 8, Toyonaka 0
Gifu Tohno 8, Hiratsuka 0
Takarazuka 13, Daigo 4

Semifinal Round (Sunday, July 7):
Sendai Higashi 6, Omiya 2
Takarazuka 5, Gifu Tohno 0

Championship Game (Sunday, July 7):
Sendai Higashi 11, Takarazuka 1 (TITLE)


Yuuji Nakane and Yoosuke Katoh each won a pair of games as Sendai Higashi defeated four opponents to win the 36th annual Japanese Little League championship tournament at the Edogawa-Ku Stadium near Tokyo.

Sendai outscored its opponents in the tournament by a 40-4 margin, including an 11-1 victory over Takarazuka in the championship game. Nakane struck out eleven and held Takarazuka to five hits in a complete game effort, and Sendai broke open a 1-0 game with a seven run rally in the bottom of the second inning. Nakane and Katoh both homered in the title game, while center fielder Tsukasa Satoh and right fielder Satoru Mizukoshi added doubles.

Takarazuka's lone run came on a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning.

Sendai Higashi, which reached the quarterfinals of the All-Japan tournament in 2001 only to be routed by Matsusaka Little League 16-0, was making its fourth appearance in Japan's championship tournament. Sendai became the northern-most league ever to win the All-Japan title, and the first champion from Tohoku. Two Tohoku leagues previously finished as the runner-up: Sendai Minami Little League in 1973, and Sendai Chuo Little League in 1979.

Takarazuka finished as the runner-up for the second time in six years.

In addition to handling the pitching duties, Nakane and Katoh were responsible for all seven home runs that Sendai Higashi hit in the two-day tournament. Katoh hit a pair of home runs and earned the win in Sendai's 15-1 opening round win over Hiroshima Nishi. Hiroshima took a brief 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning before Sendai scored multiple runs in each of the first three innings and closed the scoring with a six run outburst in the fifth. The final result was similar to the game that advanced Sendai Higashi to the All-Japan tournament -- in the Tohoku championship game, Katoh had pitched and homered twice as his team defeated Sendai Chuo Little League by a 15-2 score.

Sendai didn't need any home runs in their quarterfinal round victory over Toyonaka. Nakane pitched a shutout, and Sendai scored all of their runs in the first three innings to cruise into the semifinals. Katoh, a left-hander who served as Sendai's team captain, again took the mound in the semifinals, as Sendai Higashi defeated perennial Kitakanto champion Omiya by a 6-2 score. Katoh helped his own cause with a homer, while Nakane contributed a pair of round-trippers as Sendai overcame a 2-0 first inning deficit by scoring four runs in the bottom of the third inning.

Following their win in the All-Japan tournament -- Sendai's first national youth baseball title, as the city has never produced a champion in the 85-year history of Japan's enormously popular Summer Koshien high school tournament -- Sendai swept past Hong Kong and South Korea to win the Asia Region championship in Manila and advance to the Little League World Series.

Manager Kazutomo Takahashi's team struggled early in their opener against Hong Kong in the double-round-robin tournament. As in their early-round games in the All-Japan tournament, Sendai fell behind, spotting Hong Kong a 2-0 first inning lead before Tsukasa Satoh's hit tied the game 2-2 in the top of the fifth inning. Neither team scored in the sixth, and Sendai eventually broke the deadlock in the seventh when Nakane drilled a two-run homer to give the Japanese team a 4-2 win.

Sendai had less trouble in their next two outings, pounding thirteen hits in a 9-1 win over South Korea and scoring all of their runs in the second inning in a rain-shortened 6-0 win over Hong Kong that clinched a championship game berth.

South Korea then edged Hong Kong 1-0 to claim the other title game berth and set up a meaningless Japan-Korea matchup in the final round-robin game. Takahashi rested both Nakane and Katoh, but the Japanese champion still rolled 12-0 to finish the round-robin phase of the tournament with an unbeaten record. Tatsuhiko Numakura -- normally the team's catcher -- threw four innings, and Yoshinori Satoh closed out a combined one-hitter. Yasushi Kuboki hit his first home run of the tournament in the victory.

The stakes were higher when the teams met again in the championship game -- a contest typically not held in prior Far East and Asian tournaments unless there was a tie at the conclusion of the round-robin phase. Nakane and Katoh each threw three innings, and Sendai Higashi shrugged off an early 1-0 South Korea lead to claim a 6-1 victory and clinch a berth in the Little League World Series. Nakane allowed the early run, but struck out six and allowed three hits in his three innings of work before Katoh closed the game with five strikeouts in three hitless innings. Sendai took the lead with a four-run third inning rally, and added two more in the fourth. Tsukasa Satoh and Numakura paced Sendai's eight hit attack with two hits each, and Kuboki came off the bench to score twice.

Sendai stretched its International Tournament record to 20-0 by opening the Little League World Series with five consecutive wins, including back-to-back no-hitters by Yoshinori Satoh and Nakane. Nakane's second win of the tournament, a 4-1 decision over the Pariba Little League (Willemstad, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles) gave Sendai Higashi the international championship, but an early 1-0 deficit in the championship game proved fatal to the Asian representative. Pitcher Aaron Alvey launched a solo home run in the top of the first inning, and then threw a three-hit shutout to lead his Valley Sports American Little League (Louisville, Kentucky) past Sendai Higashi 1-0 in the Little League World Series championship game.


  Opening Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 R
Hamamatsu Minami 2 1 2 0 3 0 8
Yukuhashi 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  Opening Round
Edogawa 0 0 2 0 0 3 5
Omiya 0 4 0 0 2 x 6
  Opening Round
Toyonaka 1 1 7 1 3 8 21
Ichikawa 3 0 0 0 0 0 3
  Opening Round
Hiroshima Nishi 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Sendai Higashi 2 4 3 0 6 x 15
  Opening Round
Gifu Tohno 1 0 0 4 4 1 10
Sapporo Shinkotoni 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  Opening Round
Saijou 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Hiratsuka 2 0 6 1 0 x 9
  Opening Round
Takarazuka 4 1 0 1 0 4 10
Musashi Fuchu 2 0 1 0 0 0 3
  Opening Round
Daigo 2 0 0 3 2 1 8
Obuse 0 0 1 0 0 1 2
  Quarterfinal Round
Hamamatsu Minami 4 0 0 0 1 0 5
Omiya 5 1 0 0 0 x 6
  Quarterfinal Round
Toyonaka 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sendai Higashi 4 2 2 0 0 x 8
  Quarterfinal Round
Hiratsuka 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Gifu Tohno 6 0 0 2 0 x 8
  Quarterfinal Round
Takarazuka 8 0 5 0 0 0 13
Daigo 0 0 0 3 1 0 4
  Semifinal Round
Omiya 2 0 0 0 0 0 2
Sendai Higashi 0 0 4 0 2 x 6
  Semifinal Round
Takarazuka 3 0 0 0 0 2 5
Gifu Tohno 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  Championship Game
Takarazuka 0 0 0 1 0 0 1
Sendai Higashi 1 7 0 1 2 x 11

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Last revision: 04/22/2004