Game 28
6 vs. Southeast

Thursday, August 21, 2008
8:00PM ET

Louisiana Lightning

By Jesse Caputo
Special Correspondent

In a prime-time ESPN game under the lights at Howard J. Lamade Stadium, Kennon Fontenot stepped onto the mound excited to show the country his ability.

A little too excited.

Fontenot, Louisiana’s flame throwing right-hander did not showcase any of the pinpoint control that he earlier had used against Northwest, but he did show grit and determination, going 5 2/3 innings in Southwest’s 6-1 win over Tampa, Florida for a spot in Saturday’s United States Championship.

Louisiana will take on Waipahu, Hawaii in the U.S. final.

“From what I saw tonight, he gets ahead with the fastball and then gets you with the curveball,” Florida manager Joe McGuire said. “I was trying to get my batters to step up in the box, but they wouldn’t listen.”

In his overexcitement, Fontenot issued two walks and threw two wild pitches in the first three innings. One of those wild pitches came in the third with a runner on third base, which accounted for Florida’s only run.

Fontenot settled down from there. He retired the next five batters in order to give his offense a chance to strike again. The team responded with a run in the third to make it 4-1 and two more in the fourth to put the game out of reach.

Even with his overexcitement, Fontenot recorded 11 strikeouts, bringing his total to 23 in 11 2/3 innings at the Little League Baseball World Series.

“When Kennon pitches, I was telling coach Joe (McGuire), he’s effectively wild sometimes,” Southwest manager Charlie Phillips said. “He does give me a few gray hairs every time he pitches.”

Florida starter Michael McGuire started off shaky as well. He hit three batters and walked two, and was unable to find a rhythm in his 1 1/3 innings of work on the mound.

After working around two hit batsmen in the first to hold Louisiana scoreless, McGuire couldn’t work the same magic in the second.

Shortstop Kevin Merrell’s throwing error started the inning, and more control issues for McGuire opened the door to a three-run inning for Lake Charles to put the Southwest Region champs ahead early, 3-0.

Kevin Merrell pitched in relief, but was unable to keep the Lake Charles’ bats quiet.

In the bottom of the third, Bryce Jordan took a Merrell fastball deep into the night, depositing it over the hedge in straight-away center field for the first Louisiana homer of the World Series.

2008, Little League Baseball Incorporated
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