There were only two games on tap for Wednesday at the 2012 Little League World Series, but those two games featured the four remaining undefeated teams.
Japan and the Southeast both won. This means they both have earned a trip to the championship game of their bracket, which will be played this Saturday.
Meanwhile, Latin America and the Southwest will have to bounce down to the loser's bracket where Latin America will take on Mexico, and the Southwest will take on the West—both games will be played on Thursday. The winner of that contest will advance to their bracket's championship game.
Check out all the scores for the tournament here. Let's review the scores and top performers from Wednesday's pivotal action.
Japan 4, Latin America 1
Southeast 4, Southwest 3
Ryuji Osada, Japan
Osada pitched five outstanding innings, picking up the win for Japan. He allowed just one run, which was unearned, struck out seven, walked just two and allowed only four hits.
And he did it against a team that entered the game with a .421 team batting average and had produced 17 runs in two games.
Kotaro Kiyomiya, Japan
Kiyomiya had a stellar game. He was 2-for-2 at the plate with a walk, run scored and two RBI.
He also got the scoring started, as his two-run home run was the first shot to change the scoreboard for the game.
This had to diminish the spirits of the Latin America team, as they knew they had a day ahead of them of dominant pitching.
Jake Rucker, Southeast
Rucker brought his stuff to the park today. Against a solid hitting team, Rucker allowed just one run, and that wasn't earned, in 4.1 innings.
The Southwest mustered just four hits against him, and he also struck out six while not walking a single batter.
He also earned two walks at the plate and scored a run.