They like their
Chance Murski’s grand slam leads Richmond, Texas to U.S.
When their No. 8
hitter is cranking grand slams, it is clear that it has come to a
point where it’s really just not fair to the opponents of the
Lamar National Little League from Richmond, Texas.
Chance Murski was the
latest Texas hitter to come up big, as the catcher went deep with
the bases loaded in the second inning, sparking Richmond to an 8-2
victory over Morganton, N.C. in a United States semifinal before
18,250 at Lamade Stadium Wednesday night.
“We’re now one of the
top four little league teams in the whole world,” said third
baseman Matt Daniels, who had two hits. “If you stop to think
about that for a second, that’s very amazing.”
It’s perhaps even more
amazing that this Richmond team has made to a U.S. semifinal two
years in a row. But after they lost a year ago in a 14-13 thriller
to Saugus, Mass., pitcher Dan Homann made sure it wouldn’t become
a shootout this time around, firing a four-hitter to send his team
on to the U.S. Championship Game (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Lamade)
against tomorrow’s Thousand Oaks, Calif.-Preston, Md. winner.
But just as much as
Homann, the story was again the Texas offense, which has now
scored 51 runs in four games in South Williamsport, winning each
game by at least six runs. Wednesday’s game, in which they ripped
11 more hits and two more home runs, was actually the closest game
so far for Richmond (4-0).
“Texas is a great
team, very disciplined,” said Morganton manager Alan Lail. “That
lineup will punish you; make you pay if you miss a pitch.”
Dykota Spiess missed a few pitches, giving up a double to Tyler
Ford and consecutive singles to Matt Daniels and Dustin Moehlig to
start the second inning. But since Moehlig’s was a bunt single,
that only loaded the bases.
unloaded them, pulling Spiess’s curveball over the wall in
“At first, I didn’t
really realize it was over,” said Murski, who has been injured for
much of the summer and was making only his second start in South
Williamsport. But he still wasn’t satisfied.
“The rest of the
at-bats I didn’t really do that well,” he added. “It was a nice
shot and all, but…”
the red-hot Texans did have a few more good at-bats, especially
when they went back to work in the fourth. Cody Abraham reached on
an error and Joey Scheurich walked, setting up Randal Grichuk for
a majestic three-run homer that landed more than halfway up the
hill beyond the left field fence.
“It probably went 300
feet,” Lail said. “He just killed it.”
Grichuk, who was on
last year’s Richmond squad that lost in the U.S. semifinal, has
made his return to South Williamsport known – he is now 10-for-14
this week with four home runs, eight runs scored and 10 RBIs.
“I was just happy to
get a hit,” Grichuk said. “I just go up to the plate thinking,
‘Hit the ball, the ball will take care of itself.’ The ball looks
like a watermelon.”
To North Carolina’s
hitters, Homann (2-0) seemed to be firing BBs, as the right hander
struck out eight and retired 10 in a row at one point. North
Carolina’s only two runs came on a last-gasp rally with two outs
in the sixth, thanks to Spiess’s RBI double and Eli Lawson’s RBI
“It was very typical
of the way he pitched all summer,” said Richmond manager Jim
Michalek. “I thought he was popping the mitt even better towards
the end of the game.”
The runs were the
first two earned runs Homann has allowed in 11 innings pitched
this week. He also had a bit of help from his errorless defense
Wednesday, as the third and fourth innings were both ended on
sliding plays by right fielder Tyler Ford and left fielder Ray
Texas’s arms, bats and
gloves were too much for Morganton (2-2), but the small-town squad
completed an impressive run to South Williamsport as one of the
best four teams in the nation.
“This is just a game.
Being part of these kids’ lives – they’re family,” Lail said.
“It’s going to be tough. For the last three weeks, I spent my life
Michalek will continue
to do so with his team, which anxiously awaited their manager’s
answer to the question of what the team will do with two days off
before the national championship game.
probably twice a day for the next two days,” Michalek said. “We’ll
rest when we’ve got no more games to play.”
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