title defense with extra-inning win
Caribbean champs defeat Venezuela with sacrifice fly in
A game-winning sacrifice fly isn’t all that dramatic.
And that didn’t bother Curacao manager Vernon Isabella
“To win on a sacrifice fly, I’m very glad with it,” he
said through interpreter Alecto Nicolaas. “A win is a
Indeed it is, and you have to take a win any way you can
at the Little League Baseball World Series. With balls
flying off bats like popcorn being popped in a popcorn
machine so far in this tournament, runs are not that
hard to come by. So you take a lead – and if you’re
lucky, a win – by any means necessary.
So Curacao won this one quietly despite failing to hold
a 4-0 lead, using Sorick Liberia’s sacrifice fly off
Othecber Orozco with the bases loaded in the top of the
eighth inning to down Venezuela 5-4 in extra innings.
Liberia, who came on to pitch in the seventh, tossed two
shutout innings to earn the win as well. He retired six
of he seven batters he faced, the lone runner reaching
on his own fielding error in the seventh.
Liberia also hit a solo homer to ignite a three-run
“With experience from last year and dedication to
training, I raised my level of play,” he said through
Nicolaas. “I thought (the sacrifice fly) was a home run,
but I upper cut it too much.”
Liberia’s game-winning fly out came three innings after
Venezuela’s Richard Alvarez Jr. had tied the score at
4-4 with a one-out grand slam off Curacao starter
Jurickson Profar in the bottom of the fifth.
Alvarez Jr., who started on the hill for his team, was
on his way to a tough-luck 4-0 loss before the blast.
The righthander had allowed three runs in the second on
just one hit. The one hit: Liberia’s homer. The other
runs in the inning came across on four walks and a hit
Alvarez surrendered the fourth run in the third, when
Willie Rifaela’s fielder’s choice grounder scored
Sherman La Crus. Alvarez then worked out of a
bases-loaded jam in the fourth, and was taken out with
one out and no one on in the fifth.
Not the best of
outings by any means. But he redeemed himself with his
“It was a very emotional moment for me,” Venezuela
manager Richard Alvarez Sr. said of his son’s slam
through interpreter Luis Sanchez.
But the homer didn’t seem to bother the Caribbean
“We didn’t give up after the homer,” Isabella said. “The
fighting spirit from the team keeps increasing.”
They fought right back in the next half inning, loading
the bases with no outs in the top of the sixth. After
Rayshelon Carolina led off with a single, Christopher
Garia reached on a sacrifice bunt and Profar was hit by
a pitch. But they couldn’t push any runs across as
Liberia grounded one to third baseman Martin Cornieles,
who threw home for the force out. With one out and the
bases still loaded, La Crus smoked a grounder up the
middle that was somehow knocked down by pitcher Victor
Sequera, who threw home to start the 1-2-3 doubleplay to
end the threat.
Curacao’s Profar struck out 11 in his six innings of
work. He allowed four runs on three hits and two walks
in his no-decision.
Venezuela looks to turn their luck around Sunday vs.
Japan after an offday Saturday. Curacao faces Japan on
Saturday, looking to win their eighth straight Little
League World Series game dating to the beginning of the
© 2005, Little League Baseball
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