|Early Bird Special
Maitland notches second win in as many days in pool play
With the majority of the crowd of 18,300 fans—the most
so far in this year’s Little League Baseball World
Series—cheering on Newtown, Pennsylvania, manager Sid
Cash of Maitland, Florida knew his team had to strike
“We knew their fans wanted to get loud, and were going
to get loud,” Cash said.
With the crowd in their minds—not to mention their
ears—Dante Bichette Jr. and the rest of his teammates
delivered, scoring two runs in the first inning en route
to a 3-1 victory.
With one out in the bottom of the first, Bichette smoked
Newtown pitcher Darren Lauer’s offering off the top of
the wall marked by yellow padding in left-center field,
just missing a home run. The ball was hit so hard that
Bichette was held to only a single.
Maitland starting pitcher Skip Kovar followed by hitting
a hard bouncer that caromed off the glove of first
baseman Greg Guers for a base hit. After a walk to Mike
Tomlinson, Lee Dunnam hit a rocket similar to Bichette’s
that hit off the yellow portion of the wall in left
field for a double, knocking in two runs to give
Maitland an early 2-0 lead.
“Those two runs to start with were so important because
those fans really wanted to get into it,” Cash said.
The early runs not only quieted the crowd, but also gave
Kovar a lead to settle into.
“We gave Skip a cushion and something he could wok with
and relax and not be as tense,” Dunnam said.
After allowing two singles in the first inning, Kovar
settled down and gave up only one hit over the next
three frames while striking out four.
“I got a little nervous at first then my teammates
started to pump me up,” the righthander said. “I just
tried to calm myself down and relax, and hit my
Kovar was finally touched for a run in the top of the
fifth. Newtown opened the inning with three straight
singles by Michael Festa, Greg Guers, and Dave Pine to
load the bases. Blaine Lezynski hit a fielder’s choice
to second that drove in Festa and left runners at the
corners with two outs, but Kovar got Daniel Denton to
ground out to third to end the threat, with only one run
scored despite the three base hits.
“We out hit them 8-4, we just didn’t get the clutch hits
when we needed them,” said Newtown skipper Bill Hartley.
In the bottom of the inning, with the Newtown fans
getting back into it after the local boys cut the lead
in half, Bichette stepped to the plate, again looking to
deliver and silence the crowd.
The Maitland slugger did deliver, hitting his second
home run in as many days, a lined shot that made it over
the bushes that line the chain link fence past the
bullpen in leftfield.
“The crowd was cheering as loud as I’ve heard it in this
tournament,” Bichette said. “I just told myself to me
calm, wait for the pitch I want. I wanted it, hit it,
and hit it out of the park.”
Sending with it the hopes of the Newtown team and the
voices of the thousands in attendance.
© 2005, Little League Baseball
Please direct comments about this website to