It didn’t look good for Guam heading into perhaps its final inning in Williamsport.
The Pacific champs trailed 4-0 to Canada going into the top of the sixth, and without a huge comeback, it would have dropped to 1-2 in pool play and been in jeopardy of reaching the semifinals.
But in the final frame, Guam’s bats awoke, and they rose in fury. The Agana Little Leaguers sent 16 batters to the plate and scored 12 runs on nine hits, holding on to defeat Canada, 12-7, in front of 5,500 fans at Volunteer Stadium.
Hosea L.C. Ware’s grand slam home run with the score tied at 4-4 proved to be the game-winner. Guam added four more on a pair of two-run home runs, one by Brandon T.C. Rosario and the other by Samuel D.D. Roberto.
“It felt really great,” Ware said of his home run. “I just wanted to keep the rally going.”
Roberto, who singled in the first of the runs, finished with three RBI in the inning.
“We were pumped up,” said the soft-spoken centerfielder.
Rico Castro also had two hits in the sixth. He led off the inning with
a base hit to right-center and later singled up the middle. The leftfielder scored on Rosario’s home run.
“It felt good,” Rosario said of his two-run shot. “It just felt good.”
In the dugout prior to the 12-run outburst, Guam head coach Arnold S.N. Gogue asked his team who wanted to win the game. His boys responded with, “Guam wants it!”
And Gogue knew they could do it.
“Then show me the players you are,” he said in response.
With a loss, Guam would have dropped to 1-2, leaving the Transatlantic squad to decide its own fate in tonight’s game with Valencia, Venezuela.
Gogue acknowledge there was a lot of pressure on his team Tuesday, but said he and his players believed in themselves, especially heading into the last inning. He even told them to bat through the lineup twice. Guam came just two hitters shy of accomplishing the feat.
Canada’s Eric Bryce pitched five solid innings but unraveled in the sixth and was charged with the first seven runs of the inning. The right-hander was pulled after he loaded the bases for Ware. He had given up just two hits before the flood gates opened.
Canada came out of the gates with a bang, scoring three runs in the opening frame. Tyler Cameron highlighted the inning when he singled home Kyle Richardson. Cameron would have had a second RBI on the play, but Eric Bryce slid headfirst into home plate, which is prohibited under Little League rules and results in an out.
After giving up a leadoff double to Rico D.B. Castro, Bryce did not allow a hit until Brent T.B. Quitugua’s one-out double in the fifth. Taitague was left stranded at second after Bryce retired the next two hitters.
Then came the fateful sixth inning.
“All nine starters are capable of hitting it out of the park at any time,” Gogue said. “I told them they’ve been playing with a lot of heart, and that’s what will win them ball games.”