|Rancho Buena Vista
West hands New England second-straight loss thanks to
Kalen Pimentel granny
Vista’s Kalen Pimentel did it with his pitching
Saturday. This time around, he did it with his bat. And
both were done at ease.
The expectations were there, and everyone knows Pimentel
and his West squad may be the best South Williamsport
has to offer this August. Pressure? No way.
“I don’t really feel a lot of pressure,” he said. “I
just go out and do what I do best, whether out on the
mound or at the plate.”
One day after striking out a Little League Baseball
World Series-record 18 hitters in a six-inning game, the
Vista All-Star hit a grand slam in the bottom of the
fifth to snap a 3-3 tie and give his West team a 7-3 win
over Westbrook, Maine in front of 12,500 at Howard J.
Maine needed a win to stay alive in Pool B play. With an
0-2 record, Vista’s and Lafayette’s 2-0 marks, the New
England champs now must simply enjoy the rest of their
time in South Williamsport.
Pimentel’s grand slam came on the first pitch he saw
from reliever Joey Royer. The ball safely landed on the
hillside beyond the shrubbery in left-centerfield.
“[Manager Marty Miller] said, ‘I don’t care where you
hit it, as long as you put it in play,’” Pimentel said.
The slam capped a five-run inning for Vista, which got a
pinch-hit, game-tying RBI double from Aaron Kim two
batters before the titanic blast.
Kim, who hit a three-run homer after coming off the
bench Saturday, earned praise from his skipper.
“Mr. Kim here has had two phenomenal games,” Miller
“I was pretty happy that I didn’t get the bunt sign,”
said Kim, who came to the plate with no outs and runners
on first and second, a perfect bunting situation. “It
felt really good.”
Kim’s hit scored Josh Gomez, who had led off the inning
with a single up the middle off Maine starter Nick
Finocchiaro. The righthander was pulled after that hit.
Finocchiaro was flat-out dominant, however, through the
first three innings, retiring all nine batters he faced,
seven of them going down by strikeouts. He fanned the
side in the first, and ended the second and third
innings with a pair of punchouts.
“It seemed like we were starting off a little
tentative,” Miller said. “He did a good job. We just got
off to a slow start against him.”
The tables turned in the bottom of the fourth, when
Finocchiaro walked Danny Vivier to start the inning.
Vivier advanced to second a nicely-executed sacrifice
bunt by Nathan Lewis. Pimental then doubled to the
left-centerfield gap to score Vivier. Following a Royce
Copeland single and a Reed Reznicek strike out, Johnny
Dee stroked a 2-2 fastball into right field to put his
team ahead 2-1.
In an odd coincidence after Vista took the lead, Donna
Summer’s “Last Dance” blared over the public address
system. It was clear to everyone around that Westbrook
needed a win to stay alive in pool play, and Michael
Mowatt stepped to the plate with a different dance on
his mind – a dance that has you run around 240 feet in a
counter-clockwise circle. Mowatt took a 2-2 offering
from Reznicek over the wall in left-centerfield for a
two-run homer, giving his Westbrook team a 3-2 lead, one
that would not last very long, however.
Reznicek, who hadn’t pitched since before the regional
tournament, went the distance, giving up three runs on
five hits, while fanning eight and walking a pair.
He fell into a 1-0 hole in the top of the first, when
leadoff man Tommy Lemay drove the second pitch he saw to
the left-centerfield gap for a double. He advanced to
third on Zach Collett’s deep fly out to center. After
Mowatt went down on strikes, Finocchiaro singled to
right for the RBI.
“I have faith in [Reznicek],” Miller said. “He came in
and pitched a great game against a great team.”
Westbrook did get a fine effort from Finocchiaro, who
allowed five runs on 5 hits in four-plus innings of
“He did a great job,” said manager Rick Knight. “After
the first time through the lineup it was a different
In regard to Pimentel’s grand slam, Knight said, “I put
Royer in a tough situation.”
Vista and Lafayette will battle for first place honors
in Pool A Tuesday night at Lamade. Westbrook and
Owensboro will lock horns to avoid going winless Tuesday
afternoon at the World Series’ main stage.
© 2005, Little League Baseball
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