wins in grand style to finish 3-0 in pool play
Lafayette, Louisiana shortstop Jace Conrad stared into
the outfield at the ball that came off his bat in the
third inning of the West vs. Southwest All-Star showdown
Tuesday night at Howard J. Lamade Stadium.
He flipped his bat and sauntered to first. No one saw
him do much else – the eyes of all 12,850 spectators
were on the solo shot that had just cleared the hedges
beyond Lamade Stadium – more than 225 feet away.
But that was only the first, and that wasn’t even the
The homer ingrained in Lafayette pitcher Ryan Bergeron’s
mind tonight came from Vista slugger Kalen Pimentel, who
hit his second grand slam of the 2005 Little League
Baseball World Series over the center field wall in the
top of the fourth to solidify Vista’s 9-3 win.
“I just tried putting good swing on it,” said Pimentel,
who is also the team’s ace pitcher. “I struck out my
last at bat.”
Louisiana manager Mike Conrad spent time before the
Series looking for weaknesses in the California lineup,
and knew the dangers of the West coast sluggers.
“You don’t hit your spots, you’re gonna get hurt,” he
said. “Six to eight inches outside is six to eight
inches outside seven days a week. You can’t leave it
belt high and I went out and told Ryan that.”
Pimentel’s first grand slam came off Maine pitcher Joey
The fourth inning started with an Austin White walk and
was followed by Josh Gomez and Nathan Lewis singles to
load the bases for Pimentel. The starting catcher has
hit three home runs with 13 RBI in his three Series
When asked how the ball looked to him when he was at the
plate, Pimentel said, “not as big as a pumpkin, but
But there were other powerful slugs tonight at Lamade.
A single to left field put Royce Copeland on base to
lead off the bottom of the third and set up Reed
Reznicek, who went 1-for-3, for a 225-foot monster home
run that hit the hedges in center field. Reznicek’s home
run scored two more and gave Vista the 5-1 lead.
“You can’t let a group like this get any momentum
whatsoever,” said the Louisiana skipper.
And then there were the near misses.
Andrew Stevenson got the night started with a leadoff
bunt, and moved to second on a Brenn Conrad single to
left center field. With two on and two out, Connor Toups,
Louisiana’s Game One hero, stepped to the plate and
drove a high fly ball back to the warning track in
center field before Reznicek pocketed it and ended
“We basically choked it up at the plate,” Mike Conrad
said. “It’s almost like you could feel it coming.”
And in the bottom of the first, three innings before his
grand slam, Kalen Pimentel nearly took one out of the
park after back-to-back walks.
Southwest's Tyler Douglas, who was on deck for Conrad's
third inning shot, came to the plate and hit a long fly
ball that found earth on the left field warning track
and bounced off
the outfield wall. After a fielder’s choice out from the
next batter, the Vista players had yet another scare.
Bergeron took White’s offering deep, where Sam Scofield
caught it with his back against the center field wall.
“I don’t think we saw any one of us pitch our big dogs,”
California manager Marty Miller said. “It should have
been a slug fest.”
Then there were the fantastic catches, hidden in the
shadows of the fired up bats.
ripped one down the left field line in the first for an
RBI double that allowed leadoff man Danny Vivier to
cross home plate. A beautiful diving catch by Lafayette
second baseman Jace Conrad robbed Reznicek of a single
before Johnny Dee drove the second run across the plate
with a ball hit hard back to the mound. The hit skipped
off pitcher Toups’s glove and into center.
After a Daniel Gibney walk loaded the bases, Toups hit
Vista first baseman Ryan Gura with a pitch to force in
the third run of the inning.
So with two outs in the bottom of the first and pitcher
Austin White (batting in the nine-hole) at the plate,
Conrad took Toups off the mound in favor of Bergeron.
Bergeron came in from first base to retire the side on a
called third strike and keep the score 3-0.
Vista’s Copeland took the mound in the fourth to face
Lafayette’s Scofield. The center fielder took one
into left for the single that threatened to kick start a
Southwest rally. Scofield took second off a Copeland
wild pitch before Andreas Duplantis hit a single into
left field. A Gibney throwing error scored Scofield
With a runner on second, Romero laced a single to right
to put runners on the corners for Alex Stringer.
Stringer drew a no-out walk to load the bases as Brenn
Conrad stepped into the box.
Brenn Conrad struck out, bringing Jace Conrad to the
plate. Strike three passed by catcher Romero, and
Duplantis ended the Louisiana drive when he was thrown
out trying to take home on the passed ball."
“I’m very disappointed in the way we had run the bases
tonight,” said Mike Conrad. “This was a 9-3 game, but
believe me, it could have been 20-3. Once they start
feeding on you, it’s gonna get ugly quick.”
Down 9-3 with two outs in the top of the sixth, Douglas
got a second chance to bring his team back when Romero
dropped a foul ball with two runners on in scoring
position. Douglas took the next pitch deep to center
field, where it was caught just before it could skirt
over the 205-foot wall.
“We’ve won 23 straight games now,” said Miller. “We
don’t want to teach them how to lose.”
Louisiana will take on Hawaii at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday.
Vista will pitch ace hurler (and slugger) Pimentel
against Southeast Champs Maitland, Florida, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Lamade Stadium.
“I’m just going to go out there and concentrate on each
pitch that I throw,” said Pimentel.
“You’ll see a battle of No. 1’s go at it,” said Miller.
“The guy that blinks is gonna lose the game.”
© 2005, Little League Baseball
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