Bombers Send Florida
to World Series Championship
Four players homer to give Boynton Beach a 9-2 victory in U.S.
By David Graham-Caso
Boynton Beach leadoff man Devon Travis
pulled three pitches on Saturday evening.
The first, a line
drive single to left.
The second, a grounder through the
The third, a fly ball
that didn’t seem to land for ages.
Travis’ two-run, frozen-rope shot into the
left field bullpen in the fourth gave Florida a staggering six-run
lead. That margin would be more than enough for the Boynton Beach
Little Leaguers to become the United States champions of 2003.
In front of 36,500 vibrant Little League
fans at Lamade stadium Saturday evening, Boynton Beach defeated the
Saugus American Little League 9-2 in the U.S. Championship game.
“It feels good to be Number One,” said
Florida second baseman entered Saturday’s nightcap hitting going
7-for-12 with one home run. He finished the U.S. Championship 3-for-3
with two RBI to raise his World Series clip to .667.
“Devon certainly has a great knack for
hitting the baseball,” said manager Cody Emerson. “He is just an
all-around athletic kid.”
“I went out to talk to my pitcher and he
was looking at me funny,” recalled Saugus manager Rob Rochenski of
Travis’ final at-bat. “So I just looked back at him and said ‘Hey, I
don’t know how to get him out.’”
scored twice in its half of the first. Both runs came across on a
flare to center by Richie DeJesus. Travis and Jordan Irene both
crossed on the single, giving Florida the early advantage.
Saugus got a run back in the top of the
third. With one out and the bases juiced, six- foot slugger Matt
Muldoon stepped to the plate. Muldoon sent a sharply hit grounder back
up the middle that Boynton pitcher Cody Emerson was able to snare get
the force at home. Catcher Andrew Weaver then threw to first to try to
complete the double play. Weaver’s throw careened off the glove of
first baseman Irene, allowing Dario Pizzano to score on the error.
Massachusetts starter Craig Cole
surrendered a three-spot in the third. DeJesus drove in his third run
of the game with a two-out single off the centerfield wall that scored
Michael Broad from second. R.J. Neal then sent a hanging Cole curve
toward the Pacific Ocean. Neal’s first home run of the tournament
extended Boynton’s lead to 5-1.
“That home run
really did it to us,” Rochenski said. “That was tough to recover from.
“This just wasn’t our night. Hats off to
that Florida team,” the coach continued.
Broad and DeJesus collectively put the
nail in the coffin for Florida in the fifth. The two sluggers sent
back-to-back bombs out of the park to lead off the frame, giving
Emerson a very comfortable 9-2 lead going into his final inning of
finished the game, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out
that our bats would come through for us today,” the pitcher said.
For the second time in three years the
Little League World Series Championship game will pit a Florida team
against a squad from Japan. Boynton Beach will face Tokyo for the
right to be known as the best Little League team in the world Sunday
at 6:30 p.m. in Lamade Stadium.