|Dunbar raises bar
Canada finishes pool play 2-1 after battling Russia for
full six innings
It wasn’t the prettiest of wins for Canada by any means.
The Whalley All-Stars were outhit by Russia 4-3, and
they scored their only two runs without recording a base
hit, taking advantage of two errors, a passed ball and a
measly groundout – all in the first inning.
But nonetheless, a sparkling performance by righthander
Alex Dunbar and the capitalizing of the Russia miscues
gave Surrey, British Columbia its second win in pool
play, the most by a Canada representative since 1998,
when a team from Langley, British Columbia went 3-0
before losing the International Championship game 3-2 to
Japan in eight innings.
With its 2-1 win over the EMEA champs in front of 5,254
fans at Howard J. Lamade Stadium, Canada improved to 2-1
in pool play and must now wait for the outcome of the
Guam-Mexico clash before knowing its fate. The Whalley
kids would be the first team to advance beyond pool play
since the 1998 Canada squad.
“We’ll take any win,” manager Glenn Morache said of the
not-too-pretty triumph. “We did our part. That’s the
bottom line. We just have to watch the game tonight and
see what happens.”
Dunbar took care of the pitching aspect, striking out 10
in his complete-game effort. He endured a rough first
inning, allowing a run on three hits and leaving the
bases loaded before surrendering just one hit in five
innings the rest of the way.
He retired the last
10 batters he faced, striking out the side in the sixth
to close it out.
“The mound is a little different,” he said. “It took me
a while to get used to it, but I started to settle in. I
was just trying to throw strikes. I just hit my spots
and hoped they wouldn’t get any hits.”
two-run first inning started with Tanner Morache
reaching on a two-base throwing error by Russia
shortstop Artem Kulik. Morache then went to third on
Conrad Gallagher’s ground out to the pitcher. Chris
Fischer’s little dribbler scored Morache, as the throw
to the plate got past catcher Nikita Kotliar. Fischer
reached on the fielder’s choice and advanced to second
on the error. He then went to third on a passed ball and
came home on Jeff Degano’s groundout to second.
“We don’t take any team easy,” Manager Morache said when
asked about being surprised at the competition Russia
put forth. “We didn’t come in here thinking we could
blow them out or anything.”
A Guam win over Mexico at Volunteer Stadium tonight
would give Canada a spot in the semi-final round. If
Mexico wins, a tiebreaking rule will go into effect with
Guam, Mexico and Canada all having 2-1 records.
“That would mean a lot to us,” third baseman Jerrod Gray
said of advancing past pool play. “It would be a very
good experience for us.”
Russia, meanwhile, finishes the tournament winless in
three games. Since the tournament expanded to 16 teams
in 2001, Russia representatives have gone a combined
1-11 in the four Series. The Khovrino Little League
All-Stars played in South Williamsport the past three
years, notching the lone win vs. Guam in 2003.
“We have a good team for Russia and for Europe,” Manager
Alexey Erofeev said through coach and interpreter
Vladimir Petrov. “For here, not so good. We haven’t
experienced playing against strong teams with strong
pitchers and strong curveballs.”
© 2005, Little League Baseball
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