By David Graham-Caso
The ball had more hang-time than a hot air
balloon. Venezuela’s Juan Rivera, the first batter of the second
inning, broke up a tie-ball game Tuesday afternoon with a home run
that traveled farther than most jumbo jets. Rivera’s estimated
300-foot epic blast not only landed on the first tier of the outfield
hill at Lamade Stadium, but it would prove to be the winning run for
the Latin American Champs.
“I got a high curve ball,” Rivera said
through an interpreter. “I waited until it broke and then I hit it.”
According to Mexico manager Andres
Sanchez, Mexico dished too many high pitches to the Latin American
not play that bad of a game,” he said through an interpreter. “But we
got a few balls up, and we paid for it.”
Venezuela finished the game with three
pleased with how we hit,” said Venezuela manager Alfonso Avendano.
“But I know we can do more.”
the first-place seed out of pool D by defeating Olmeca, Mexico 6-2.
Both teams entered the game undefeated, each assured of a spot in
Wednesday’s International semifinal. The game was still important, as
the winner and top seed would dodge the top seed from Japan for
Venezuela’s starter Wilfredo Sanchez had a big day. Along with picking
up the win on the hill, Sanchez was 4-4 at the plate with two-doubles,
a single and a homerun. The 5-foot-1 pitcher scattered five hits and
struck out seven in the five innings that he pitched.
“I was happy that all of my pitches were
all with curveballs,” Sanchez said through an interpreter. “I was just
happy to win this game.”
After an RBI single in the top of the
first gave Venezuela the early lead, Mexico battled back in their half
of the first. Alejandro Manjarrez clubbed his second homerun in as
many days to tie the game at 1-1.
As the pool D
champion, Venezuela next faces the second place team from pool C
Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Lamade stadium.
Mexico will face Japan in the other
International semifinal Thursday.
“It really doesn’t matter who we play
first,” Avendano said. “We are going to have to play two games to get
to the championship anyway.”