Japan claimed the 2017 Little League World Series title Sunday afternoon in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with a 12-2 run-rule victory over Texas.
Japan has now won the Little League World Series in five of the last eight years.
Texas couldn't have envisioned a better start to the game, but its 2-0 lead lasted until the second inning, when Japan scored three runs and didn't look back.
Chandler Spencer put Texas in front with a home run on the first pitch of the game. SportsCenter shared a replay of the solo blast to left-center field:
Home run on the very first pitch. #SCtop10 https://t.co/MZQij3VzYg2017-8-27 19:40:02
Hunter Ditsworth added a second run with a solo homer two batters later. From that point, though, Texas' offense had no answer for Tsubasa Tomii on the mound. The Japanese starter allowed one hit after Texas' outburst in the first. He went the full five innings, surrendering three hits and one walk and striking out nine batters.
Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy marveled at Tomii's breaking ball:
Danny Duffy @duffkc41
This hurler for Japan has a grimey slider. How do you hold that bro? #LLWS2017-8-27 20:55:40
Tomii didn't need a ton of run support, but Japan delivered plenty anyway.
Keitaro Miyahara tied the game in the bottom of the second with a two-run triple, and Ryusei Fujiwara put Japan ahead 3-2 with an RBI single to plate Miyahara.
Japan scored four more runs to make it a 7-2 game in the bottom of the fourth. The runs came from a trio of homers by Miyahara, Daisuke Hashimoto and Natsuki Yajima.
The top half of the order continued to deliver in the fifth. Rei Ichisawa singled to bring Yuya Nakajima home. Miyahara then collected his fourth and fifth RBI of the game when he doubled to left field. Miyahara scored on a groundout, and Yajima ended the game with a single into right field to plate Japan's 12th run and trigger the run rule.
The quartet of Miyahara, Yajima, Fujiwara and Seiya Arai pummeled Texas pitching, going a combined 10-for-16 and driving in nine of Japan's 12 runs.
Japan concludes the Little League World Series having not dropped a game during qualification or the World Series portion in Williamsport. During that time, it outscored its opponents 92-9.