Little League World Series: Japan's Kotaro Kiyomiya Is Biggest Little Star

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterAugust 16, 2012

Photo Credit: The Republic
Photo Credit: The Republic

The Little League World Series already has its big superstar of the tournament in Japanese 13-year-old Kotaro Kiyomiya. 

It's almost ridiculous to call the six-foot athlete a Little Leaguer, but his stature isn't the only amazing thing about him. 

He also has otherworldly talents that make him the one player you must make note of in this tournament. 

Sure there are plenty of great stories and kids that will have you mesmerized for the remainder of the month, but Kiyomiya is 206 pounds and throws 80 miles per hour. 

Of course, the discussion happens upon how other kids can step into the box when this Little League version of Randy Johnson steps on the bump. 

There was a scary moment recently when a player was hit in the head with his rising fastball. The video of the gasp-inducing play can be seen at SportsGrid

Ceddanne Rafaela goes down in a heap, but gets up and brushes himself off like a true champ. This is a better reaction than I would have had, because I would have harnessed my best John Kruk and vowed never to return to the plate

The SportsGrid report has some startling facts. First off, that bean ball was clocked at an MLB-equivalent 99 MPH. 

Because of the distance of the mound to the plate, a ball coming in at Kiyomiya's usual 80 MPH can be said to be going at the "major league equivalent of 104 MPH."

Interest in this kid has to pique by now. 

ESPN's (h/t Busted Coverage) Chris McHendry had a chance to catch up with the Japanese phenom prior to his open with Curacao. 

That interview reveals some other startling facts. 

Yes, he said he hit 60 home runs in 50 games, making my childhood seem like a waste of time by comparison. 

As for the Curacao team that took on Japan Thursday, they fared about as well as you would imagine against such a talent. 

Kotaro Kiyomiya and teammate Noriatsu Osaka combined to two-hit the Caribbean team en route to a 7-0 victory, via the Washington Post

The Little League World Series is currently all about the mammoth minor, Kotaro Kiyomiya. 

Follow me on Twitter for more Little League hits. 

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