The comeback kids of Guam
Guam dug itself a pretty big hole Sunday afternoon in Game 12 of the Little League World Series.
The champs from the Pacific region spotted Saudi Arabia a 4-0 lead in the first inning, and then a 6-2 lead after two innings of play.
But Guam started chipping away in the late innings, and chipping away in home run style, as Guam went on to defeat Saudi Arabia, 9-6, in front of 3,150 spectators at Volunteer Stadium.
Hosea L.C. Ware started the rally in the fifth, belting a two-run homer after Taylor Taitague led off the inning with a base-on-balls. Taitague also hit a two-run home run in the second. The Central Guam Little League All-Stars completed the comeback in the sixth by plating five runs.
Jon M. Dazo led off with a solo homer to center field. After consecutive base hits from Samuel D.D. Roberto and Matthew J.C. Barcinas, Taylor Taitague crushed a three-run homer, which proved to be the game winner. Taitague went back-to-back with Ware, who followed with his second home run of the game.
“It felt great,” Taitague said of his game-winning shot. “I had a feeling something really good was going to happen.”
Taitague nor Ware had ever hit two home runs in a game this post-season.
Ware was asked in the post-game press conference what his feelings were when rounding the bases. He replied, “I felt like I hit a home run.”
Guam coach John Santos was confident in his team despite the deficit they faced.
“I knew they had the power in their bats to do it,” he said. “The guys started having fun, and when you do that good things happen.
“I want them to believe in that aspect of the game. If they go out and have fun their hearts come out.”
Saudi Arabia got on the board first. The Transatlantic champs plated four in the first and two more in the second.
Tommy Timoney, who led off the first inning by being hit by a pitch, scored on Jordan Fleck’s groundout to first. Nicholas Gosse crossed the plate on a wild pitch one batter later. John Warren’s two-out RBI single brought home Craig Lumpa. Warren then came around to score on a fielding error on Dillon French’s single to right.
Fleck recorded another RBI in the second with a single up the middle.
Saudi Arabia takes on Venezuela Tuesday night at Volunteer stadium while Guam next plays Canada Tuesday afternoon at Volunteer.
Santos is looking forward to the next game, and is happy with how his squad looks heading in to that match-up.
“They are being a team again,” he said. “They make me proud.”