Pitcher Takahisa Hayakawa of Japan throws in the third inning during the Asia Professional Baseball Championship game between Australia and Japan at Tokyo Dome on November 18, 2023 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Gene Wang/Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
Japan won their third game of the Asia Professional Baseball Championship on Saturday on the strength of a combined one-hit shutout, beating Australia 10-0 in eight innings via the mercy rule to remain undefeated at the event.
Australia is 0-3 in its first time participating in the APBC, and will play Chinese Taipei (1-2) on Saturday at 9 p.m. EST at the Tokyo Dome.
Japan, at 3-0, will play South Korea, 2-1, in the championship game on Sunday at 4 a.m. EST at the Tokyo Dome.
Japan’s pitching staff faced 27 batters, allowing one hit, two walks and striking out 11. Starter Takahisa Hayakawa threw five innings with 63 pitches and faced 15 batters, allowing no hits, no walks, and seven strikeouts.
Australia’s pitching staff faced 47 batters, allowing 10 earned runs, 13 hits, 10 walks, and six strikeouts. Their staff has allowed 19 earned runs during the 2023 APBC event over three games.
Australia starting pitcher Jack Bushell threw two innings, facing nine batters and allowing two hits, two walks, and four strikeouts prior to manager Dave Nilsson calling upon relief pitcher Kieran Hall in the top of the third inning.
Australia recorded their first hit of the game in the bottom of the seventh inning from first baseman Clayton Campbell’s single up the middle off relief pitcher Shunsuke Sato.
Japan left fielder Kyota Fujiwara recorded three hits, two walks, and two RBI, while shortstop Kaito Kozono had two hits and two RBI’s in four at-bats. Center fielder Yuki Okabayahshi recorded two hits and one walk, and his replacement, Yuki Nomura, had two hits and two RBI off the bench. Right fielder Chusei Mannami hit a two-run RBI triple in the top of the third inning during the shutout win on Saturday.
Japan will aim for their second championship during 2023, having previously won the 2023 World Baseball Classic in March, beating the United States 3-2 in the championship game at loanDepot Park in Miami. They also won the bronze at the 19th Asian Games back in early October and beat China 4-3 at Shaoxing Baseball and Softball Sports Culture Center in Hangzhou, China.
The APBC U-24 event will not count towards the World Baseball Rankings through the World Baseball Softball Confederation.
The last Asia Professional Baseball Championship was held in 2017, with Japan beating Korea 7-0 in the championship game and Seibu Lions infielder Shuta Tonosaki being named the MVP.
Both APBC games can be streamed for free on https://nspotv1.com/. Use google translate to navigate on the website for easier usage and click on the real-time sports broadcasting sub-tab to get to the live stream of both games.