in, advances to semifinal
By David Graham-Caso
Wilmington, DE and
Richmond, TX played Game 22 of the 2003 Little League World Series
Tuesday afternoon with a berth in the single-elimination round on the
line. In all reality, the single-elimination round had already snuck
up on both teams.
Each team had compiled a 1-1 record, and
with only one spot left in Thursday’s semi-final, Tuesday’s game was
just like the single elimination round: win and you advance, lose and
you go home.
Texas advanced; Delaware went home. The 7-1 Texas victory at the hands
of a seven-run fourth inning filled the last spot in the U.S.
The pressure of the game only fueled the
players. Delaware first-baseman David Mastro led off the game by
crushing a Robert Psenka 0-2 offering deep and over the right field
“He surprised me,”
Psenka said. “I threw the ball real low, so when he hit it, I did not
think that is was going to go out.
“After that I calmed myself down. I had
given up a home run before and lost it, so we lost the game, so I
calmed down so that would not happen again.”
The large Delaware contingent in the
stands erupted as Mastro’s homer sailed over the wall.
A large part of
the 13,125 on hand at Lamade stadium were sporting Delaware red.
“We got a lot of support,” said Delaware
manager Joe Mascelli. “We really appreciate the support we have been
getting from everybody.”
Richmond struggled to get a hold of any
Kip Skibicki pitches through the first three innings. The fourth
frame, however, was a different story.
Psenka got things going for Texas by
ripping a leadoff double into the leftfield corner. Psenka then came
across on a single by Brian Foster. The tying run would not be the
last for Texas in the fourth.
Eleven batters came to the plate for
Richmond in the fourth, slugging seven base hits and plating seven
“We just got used to
where he was throwing the ball and how hard he was throwing,” Psenka
said. “We just adjusted.”
The rally buried Delaware under a six run
deficit. The lead was more than enough for the confident Psenka, who
finished the game allowing only one run on four hits.
“I knew when we
got that lead that we were going to win,” Psenka said. “I was 100
percent sure that I was not going to give up anymore runs and we were
going to win the game.”
“The team needed Robert,” said Richmond
manager Jim Michalek. “And Robert came through for us.”
Richmond next faces the first-place
finisher from Pool A, Saugus, MA, in the U.S. semi-final Thursday at 7
excited,” said Brian Foster. “Because now we get to play more