Until this year, no team from Guam had ever reached the Little League World Series. Now Guam is already wishing for a return trip next August.
With their 6-5 victory over Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, Guam wins their first-ever game in Williamsport and now sits comfortably in Pool D play. Their next game is Monday vs. Moscow, Russia at Howard J. Lamade Stadium.
“I feel like we’ve won the World Series,” said Guam manager Ramon Aguon, Jr. “To win today, it’s an achievement. I’m pretty much satisfied with their performance. I came in with intention of taking the World Series. Next game you’ll even see an improvement.”
Guam is still five wins away from winning the championship, but the team’s morale just might carry them there. The kids embraced each other like they had won the Series following the final out. And the players invited to the post-game press conference could hardly contain themselves.
Starting pitcher Derwin Aguon led the way by tossing six innings of
four-hit baseball. He had a little trouble in the third and fifth innings when he allowed three and two runs, respectively. In the fifth, he yielded two runs on a walk, double and infield error, which allowed Mexico to pull within one run. He struck out the next two hitters to escape the jam.
“I was very nervous,” Aguon said. “My manager just told me to throw the ball to the target, and fast.”
“I’ve seen him pitch better, but I guess he was nervous,” added manager Aguon.
The right-hander struck out 12 while walking three. He fanned four out of the last five hitters to close out the game.
Guam got on the board first by scoring two runs during a first-inning two out rally. Leadoff hitter Kurt Diaz walked, Freddy Abanes Cepeda and Aaron Sanchez both struck out. Then Derwin Aguon, Robert Lee Weekly II, and Alejandro Diaz put together a string of three consecutive base hits. Alejandro Diaz’s single to right scored Kurt Diaz for the game’s first run. One batter later, Aguon scored on a wild pitch.
In the top half of the third, Mexico took a short-lived lead, 3-2, by scoring three runs of their own. Castillo’s
two-RBI single got things going. Then it was Eduardo Flores’ base hit up the middle that plated Pedro Rodriguez for the third run. Flores was not credited with the RBI, however, as Guam catcher Alejandro Diaz dropped the incoming throw from center fielder Aaron Sanchez.
Guam answered right back with two runs in the bottom of the inning to take back the lead, 4-3. Cepeda and Sanchez both walked and came around to score on a series of wild pitches and a delayed steal.
They would add two more in the fourth to take a 6-3 lead.
The Pacific champs could only manage six hits in the game, but they did a good job taking advantage of 8 walks and a handful of wild pitches.
“Our sticks were definitely off today, but we were facing their top pitcher,” said manager Aguon.
Flores was on the mound for Mexico, and could not outlast the Pacific champs.
“He was a little bit nervous and a little bit rusty because it has been two weeks since he last pitched,” said Mexico manager Tomas Castillo. “Basically he’s the best pitcher we have. I hoped he would have gained composure as the game went on.”
Castillo is not worried about the remainder of pool play.
“I think we’ll come back strong tomorrow,” Castillo said. “I’m not disappointed in the kids at all. We’ll see a better team tomorrow.”
Mexico will square off against Russia Saturday at Lamade Stadium.
- Mark Rogoff