merit with one-hitter
Curacao advances to International Final for 3rd straight year
By Mark Rogoff
suffered a tough-luck, 4-1 loss to Japan in Friday’s International
The 6-foot tall righthander gave up only 2
earned runs, while striking out 12 Toyko hitters – a team that hit a
combined .373 in 3 round-robin games. Not bad against the team that
some say is again the odds-on favorite to run the table.
Wednesday evening’s International
semi-final, however, was a different story. He used some luck in his
2nd outing of the Series.
Despite an uncharacteristic 7 walks,
Martines kept Venezuela from tallying the tote board, striking out 14
and taking a no-hitter into the 5th, as Curacao went on to win 10-0. A
dinky infield single to Jimali Fermin broke up the no-hit bid.
“I wasn’t totally focused,” Maritnes said
through assistant coach Michelangelo Celestina. “I was anxious, but
today’s game is the best I have pitched (in the regional and World
He allowed just one ball out of the
infield, a fly ball to left off the bat of Venezuela’s Jhonny Sandrea.
Three of the walks had led to a bases-loaded jam in the 4th, but
Martines struck out Eugenia Yajure on a called 3rd strike to end the frame.
strikeouts were a career best, according to the hurler himself.
“He was throwing very
hard, and the kids were very impatient,” said Venezuela head coach
Alfonso Avendano. “It was a bad day.”
Martines even helped himself out with a
3-run homer to left that extended the lead to 7-0.
“It was fun for me to hit a home run for
the team,” he said.
Curacao had scored just 12 runs in its 3
pool-play games, 9 of which came in their win over Transatlantic. They
hit a measly .226 as a team, striking out a combined 24 times over 62
official at-bats (39 percent).
The Pabao Little Leaguers Wednesday raised
their team clip to roughly .267 by pounding out 10 hits.
Curacao plated a run in the first and 2nd
innings to give Martines a comfy 2-0 lead. Jonathan Schoop, who led
off the game with a bloop single to left, scored on a wild pitch.
Carol de Palm in the 2nd came across when Schoop was hit by a pitch
with the bases full.
The Caribbean champs added to their lead
in the 3rd, scoring a pair of runs on Jeandre Perreira’s 2-RBI single
“It was enough
for us to win the game,” Celestina said of the first 2 runs. “We talk
a lot yesterday (about the offensive struggles). We came in today
focusing on hitting. Without hitting we can’t win the game.”
Curacao leadoff specialist Jonathan School
turned in his 2nd 3-hit effort of the tournament, reaching base safely
in 4 at-bats while scoring 2 runs.
“I focus to be on base every time I bat,”
he said. “My job is to get on base every time.”
His next opportunity will come in
Saturday’s International Final. Curacao awaits the winner of
Thursday’s semi-final between Japan and Mexico.
“It’s amazing,” Celestina said of
advancing to the International championship. “We must do our best to
get to the World Series (championship).”