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Japan and Atlantic Beach Rule at Cal Ripken Major/70 World Series

Japan Juggernaut Dominates Ripken World Series to Claim Major/70 World Title

Temma Yoshiko and his Japan teammates appreciated all that Branson has to offer excitable 12-year-olds, from White Water to The Track Family Fun Parks to Silver Dollar City. But baseball remained their top priority during their week-long stay for the Cal Ripken Major/70 World Series at Ballparks of America.

"Even though Branson has a lot of activities, we stayed in our dorm room throughout the day,” Yoshiko said. “We wanted to get our energy to stay in our bodies. That was a reason why we won.”

Yoshiko earned the International Outstanding Player award while leading Japan to domination of the World Series Field. Japan capped its undefeated run by handing Atlantic Beach, Florida, a 7-1 defeat in the championship game.

Japan outscored its five opponents 54-3 on its way to repeating as World Series champs.

Japan lived up to its reputation in the title tilt by jumping on Atlantic Beach early, putting up two runs in the first inning and adding three more in the second.

Yuya Okinishi, hitting out of the clean-up spot for Japan, blasted a two-run home run.

Japan coach Hirofumi Suzuki said his team’s high-quality play was no accident.

“In Japan, the baseball order is the coaches teach fundamentals all year to players at the beginning (of their careers),” Suzuki said. “When they are 6- to 7-years old, they are taught the fundamentals. Then, they go into the skill parts of the game. That is the reason they are fundamentally sound.

Shuta Takehera and Ito Chihiro made Japan’s early lead against Atlantic Beach stand up. The duo combined to throw a two-hitter.

Malachi Witherspoon delivered an RBI single for Atlantic Beach’s lone run.

Japan downed Mexico 9-1 in the International championship game, while Atlantic Beach knocked off Miliani, Hawaii, 2-1 in the U.S. championship game.

Hoshiko struck 11 against Mexico and was supported by a grand slam by Yuta Utsumi.

Japan Celebrating 


All-World Series Team

All-Defense Team


 Carlos Atondo



 Brayden Moyle



 Manuel Beltri

 Dominican Republic


 Jung Hun Park



 Gedion Gibson



 Marion Rodriguez



 Temma Hoshiko



 Yuta Utsumi



 Kun Hyoung Park



 Chris Arroyo

 Puerto Rico


 Carlos Martinez

 Puerto Rico


 Yoon Ho Koh



 Tomonori Hyodo



 Nikau Pooaka-Grego

 New Zealand


 Fraylin Suriel

 Dominican Republic


 Diego Garza



 Samuel Juarez



 Benjamin Hoshizaki



 Se Yun Lee



 Xavier De Los Santos

 Dominican Republic


 Haruto Yamada





Most Outstanding Player: Temma Hoshiko (Japan)   Batting Champion: Ito Chihero - .667 (Japan)

Team Sportsmanship Award: Japan


Atlantic Beach Suns Finish as Cal Ripken World Series Runner-Ups

It may have not been the outcome they wanted, but Atlantic Beach, Florida should be very proud of their accomplishments.

As one of 24 teams who qualified for the Cal Ripken Major/70 World Series, the Suns managed by Larry Rollings, finished second in the country falling 7-1 to Team Japan, who won 5 of the last 7 titles.

After winning the state title, the Suns won the Southeast Regional title to qualify for the World Series in Branson, Missouri.  They were placed in the United States Group C to start the tournament and began pool play with Missouri, Connecticut and Nebraska.

In the opener on August 3, the Suns held off Connecticut, 3-1 to start the tournament 1-0 in Group C. Offensively, the Suns were led by Colin Rust who went 1-3, Holden Bradshaw 2-3 with a RBI and double and Kyson Witherspoon 1-3 with a double.

William Rollings got the win striking out five, allowing two hits, walking one and allowing one earned run in five innings; while Witherspoon closed it out striking out three, allowing two hits and one run in one inning.

In game two on August 4, the Suns had little trouble with Nebraska winning 15-2 to improve to 2-0 in pool play.  Atlantic Beach exploded with 14 hits and were led by Billings 1-3 with a RBI, Rust 1-5 with a RBI, Parker Sedgwick 2-4 with 2 RBI and a double, Malachi Witherspoon 1-3 with RBI, Kyson Witherspoon 3-4 with RBI, Jack Mcguinness 4-4 with 3 RBI and a double Dustin Petit 1-2 with 2 RBI and a triple.

On the mound, Rust threw two innings allowing two hits, striking out three while walking one; Bradshaw closed it out going 2 and 2/3 striking out one, walking one and allowing one run and no hits.

In the final game of pool play on August 5, the Suns routed Missouri 7-0, to win Pool C to advance to the playoffs. Offensively, the Suns were led by Rust 1-4, Bradshaw 1-3, Rollings 3-4 with 2 doubles and 2 RBI, Sedgwick 1-4 with RBI and Kyson Witherspoon 1-3 with RBI.

Sedgwick got the win going five innings striking out five, allowing four walks and one hit; while Witherspoon got the save striking out two in the final inning.

The win gave the Suns a day off and a bye before facing Ohio Valley in the first round of bracket play. Atlantic Beach defeated Ohio 8-3, to advance to the second round of the US bracket. 

In the US semi-finals, Atlantic Beach knocked off Colorado 8-2 to advance to the US finals against Hawaii.

With a spot in the Cal Ripken World Series championship game on the line and to claim the US title, Atlantic Beach and Hawaii both gave everything they had in a classic nail biting game with the Suns coming out on top 2-1 to advance to the world championship game.

Both Japan and Atlantic Beach came into the final game undefeated in the tournament and looking to bring home the World Series trophy in a game televised live on

However, in the end, the boys from Atlantic Beach were no match for the dynasty from Japan, who won their fifth title in 7 years.

Despite the loss, the Suns from the Atlantic Beach, Florida Athletic Association have a lot to be proud of:  2017 District Champs, 2017 Florida State Champs, 2017 Southeast Regional Champs, 2017 Cal Ripken Major/70 United States Champion and 2017 Cal Ripken Major/70 World Series Runners-up. Not a bad summer for a bunch of 10-12-year old players. 


Atlantic Beach


All-World Series Team

All-Defense Team


 Austin Francis

 Troy, NY


 Jackson Riley-Coombs

 SE Denver, CO


 Cooper Jadwin

 Carthage, MO


 Eddi Yamin

 Troy, NY


 Casey Katz

 Brookfield, CT


 Hunter Heidgerken

 Waite Park, MN


 Reece Ducker

 Mountain Home, AR


 Parker Sedgwick

 Atlantic Beach, FL


 Bennett Egan

 Jeffersontown, KY


 Holden Bradshaw

 Atlantic Beach, FL


 Jake Holmes

 West Linn, OR


 Chyler Desilva

 Miliani, HI


 Evan Elarionoff

 Miliani, HI


 Kyson Witherspoon

 Atlantic Beach, FL


 William Rollings

 Atlantic Beach, FL


 Trent Ihle

 Miliani, HI


 Aiden Parish

 Rattan, OK


 Michael Kennedy

 Troy, NY


 Zarin Poopaa

 Miliani, HI


 William Mowers

 SE Denver, CO


 Mason Sukigara

 SE Denver, CO


 Andrew Dongelewic

 Troy, NY

Most Outstanding Player: William Rollings (Atlantic Beach, FL)  Batting Champion:  Evan Elarionoff - .667 (Miliani, HI)

Team Sportsmanship Award: Minot, North Dakota


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