Game 14
Northwest
8 vs. Mid-Atlantic 3
Sunday, August 22, 2004
8:00PM ET

Red-mond letter day
Late inning heroics give Redmond, Washington first victory of Little League World Series

By David Graham-Caso

The Redmond North Little League was two-outs deep into the fifth inning of their second game in South Williamsport. Up to that point, the Northwest Regional Champions had not held the lead in any game they had played in the Little League World Series and were tied 3-3 with the South Caroline Little League from Preston, Md. That was before Stephen Thompson came to the plate with two runners on base.

“I knew it was out as soon as I hit it,” Thompson said. “I couldn’t believe I did it. I was watching the ball go out and I couldn’t believe that I did it.”

Thompson’s three-run homer gave Redmond (1-1) a 6-3 advantage on its way to an 8-3 come-from-behind victory in Sunday’s nightcap at Lamade Stadium.

“We are never out of a game,” said Redmond starter Keiran Beaton. “We were down 18-6 to Texas and we even scored another run. We are never out of it.”

Maryland jumped out to the early lead in the second half of the second inning. After Chad Hicks reached first on a single, Ben LaNeve carved a double down the right field line. Hicks scored from first on the play, and a series of two Redmond throwing errors brought LaNeve all the way around the bases for Maryland’s second run.

Maryland added another run in the third. Hicks ripped a two-out line drive into the leftfield corner, which scored Hunter Bennett from second. Special pinch runner Thomas Howe tripped while rounding third on the play and was tagged out in a pickle to end the inning.

Redmond immediately regained ground on Maryland. The first batter of the fourth inning, right fielder Kyle Henselman, smashed Payne’s first offering over the right-centerfield fence. The home run accounted for Redmond’s first run of the game and made the score 3-1 in the fourth.

“That homerun was big,” said manager Darryl Beliel. “Cutting into the lead was important.”

Redmond took the lead in its half of the fifth inning. Colin Porter evened the score at 3-3 by driving in Cameron Sandquist and Michael Conforto with a single up the middle, and after issuing an intentional walk to Henselman, Thompson strolled to the plate. After going ahead in the count 2-1, Thompson sent a lofty pop up back toward the Maryland dugout. The potential third out grazed off of Payne’s glove and Thompson had new life, which he promptly took advantage of. As soon as the ball pinged off of Thompson’s bat, it was not a question of whether it was gone, but how gone it was. The homer eventually docked itself in the row of bushes roughly 35 feet beyond the right-center field fence.

“I had new life after they dropped the foul ball,” Thompson said. “It was a fastball down the middle and I hit it pretty good.”

Redmond tacked on two insurance runs in the top of the sixth when Conforto doubled home Kelby McCorkle and then Conforto came in on a two-out single by Colin Porter.


NEWS AND NOTES

  • Montoursville native and current New York Yankees pitching star Mike Mussina threw out the ceremonial first pitch before tonight’s game. Mussina, who is a member of the Little League International Board of Directors, was in South Williamsport promoting a raffle to benefit the Little League Urban Initiative and the Mike Mussina foundation. While the Little League Urban Initiative will go to help rebuild Little Leagues devastated by Hurricane Charley, the Mike Mussina Foundation advocates healthy lifestyle choices through support of childhood literacy programs and scholarships.

    John Deere Corp. donated one Gator™CS utility vehicle, a LT150 lawn tractor, five walk-behind mowers, five line trimmers, five battery operated Gator™ toys and five precision collectible models as prizes for the raffle. Other raffle prizes include a Stanford baseball jersey, 10 baseballs and 10 photos, each autographed by Mussina, one baseball autographed by Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and another baseball signed by Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

    “I played Little League,” Mussina said in a brief press conference after he tossed the ceremonial first pitch (a gentle lob to Maryland catcher Brady Hare). “It was a great way to get into baseball. Doing what I do now is a great way to get involved with the other side of Little League.”

  • With the win, Redmond can still advance to a United States semifinal. If Redmond beats Owensboro and Maryland beats Richmond, Maryland and Texas will all be 2-1 in Pool play and a run differential equation will be used to determine the first place team in the pool. The second place team would then be decided by the head-to-head result between the two remaining teams.

    If both Redmond and Maryland lose, there will be a three way tie for second, and the run differential equation will decide the second place team.


Click here for box scores

Photography by Caroline Connolley


© 2004 Little League Baseball Incorporated