Olmeca makes quick
work of Moscow team
Early homers enough to hold off Russia
By David Graham-Caso
a brisk one-hour, 44-minute game, Olmeca Little League out of Mexico
City, Mexico defeated the Khovrino Little League from Moscow, Russia
2-1. A late arriving crowd at Volunteer Stadium missed the run
production, all of which took place in the first three innings.
It took two batters in the bottom of the
first for Mexico to jump out to an early lead. After leadoff man
Miguel Martinez grounded out to third, third baseman Diego Espinosa
hit a 206-foot blooper to center. Surprisingly enough for Russia
centerfielder Mikhail Nasorin, the center field fence is only 205 feet
deep. The next batter, shortstop Alejandro Manjarrez, matched
Espinosa’s homer with a shot of his own. Manjarrez tattooed over the
left-center field fence the first offering from Russia pitcher Alexey
Kozin. The back-to-back solo jobs put Mexico up 2-0.
“The pitcher threw me a fastball, high and
inside,” Espinosa said of his round-tripper. “I love to hit fastballs
that are high and inside.”
Russia manager Vladimir Eltchaninov
attributes the rough first inning to nerves. The Moscow team, which
usually plays in front of no more that 100 spectators, has a hard time
dealing with the bustling Williamsport crowd.
“That is our big problem here,” said
Eltchaninov, who is making his third straight trip to Williamsport as
a manager. “Every time our kids are out they’re shaking.”
made up some ground in the top of the third. With runners at the
corners and two away, Espinosa could not hold on to a soft liner off
the bat of Evgeny Vorotyntsev. The error brought in Alexey Kozin from
third, and pulled Russia to within a run.
Olmeca starter Christian Lopez effectively
kept the Russian team at bay for 5.2 innings. Lopez allowed only four
hits and the unearned run in his winning effort.
With two outs in the sixth and the
go-ahead run at the plate, Mexico manager Andres Sanchez opted to
bring in Manjarrez to close out the game. Manajarrez picked up the
save by striking out Anton Chekailn on three pitches.
“We do not usually bring in pitchers to
try and close the game,” Mexican manager Andres Sanchez said through
an interpreter. “But with a runner on base, we could have lost with a
home run, so I didn’t want to risk anything.”
Lopez struck out seven in his 5.2 innings
up for Mexico is Guam Monday at 1 p.m. at Lamade Stadium. Russia will
look for its first win of the tournament against Guam Sunday at 7 p.m.