Mexico, Mexico, rah, rah, rah!!
Little Leaguers were hitting long balls all day Sunday at Volunteer Stadium. And it was no different in the nightcap.
Mexico connected for three home runs, including Diego Segura’s eventual game-winning solo shot in the fourth, lifting the squad to a 4-3 win over Moscow, Russia.
“I felt very good,” Segura said through an interpreter. “I knew going up one run would make my team play more calm.”
A total of 13 home runs in three games were hit in Volunteer on Sunday.
Jose Angel Diaz connected on a fastball for a solo home run to right-center field for the game’s first run in the bottom of the first. Rodolfo Garcia hit a game-tying homer in the fourth, immediately before Segura’s heroics.
The homer happy Mexican champs sent their supporters into a chant of “Mexico, Mexico, rah, rah, rah!”
It was the third set of back-to-back home runs hit Sunday at Volunteer.
“I like the fastball,” Diaz said through an interpreter. “I have been successful with it.”
Garcia contributed with his pitching as well. The right-hander relieved Segura in the third and gave up just one hit in four innings of work, a double to Kirill Chermoshentsev in the final frame.
Garcia struck out nine Russia hitters.
“The fastball worked for me,” he said. “My two-strike curveball also was effective. I pitched well, and the long rest (15-16 days before the Series) helped me.”
Mexico head coach Jesus Contreras Leija admits his team has some things to work out, but he is confident they can find their way.
“We’re definitely struggling a little bit,” he said. “Fifteen or sixteen days without playing has ruined our rhythm. But this win keeps the ball rolling. We’re planning on winning the next game since we want to continue in the tournament.”
Russia took advantage of three Mexico errors in the third inning and scored three runs. The inning was capped off by Dmitri Tchaikovski’s RBI groundout to first baseman Aldo Salinas.
Monterrey’s defense was hardly a factor after Garcia took the hill. Of the 14 batters he faced, only three put the ball in play.
“My teammates helped me out batting and in the field,” he said.
Mexico plays Japan in their Pool D finale Monday afternoon at Lamade Stadium. Russia finishes their round-robin play Monday morning against Curacao at Volunteer Stadium.