|Bring on Japan!
Curacao beats Guam in semifinal to earn fifth straight
trip to International Championship
The Curacao of old showed up at just the right time,
precisely the right time.
The Caribbean champs had scored just eight runs in their
three pool play games, which included a 5-4 win over
Venezuela, a 9-0 loss to Japan and a 3-0 victory over
Saudi Arabia. They had hit only .182 as a team.
“Yes, I was very concerned about our low run total,” he
said through interpreter Alecto Nicolaas. “But I was
very confident going into today’s game. The difference
was that over the last two days we did live pitching (as
opposed to a pitching machine). And I talked a lot to
the players to keep them focused for the game.”
It paid off, to say the least.
The Curacao kids busted out for 16 runs on 13 hits in a
16-1 mercy-rule triumph over Guam before 7,400 at Howard
J. Lamade Stadium, earning a spot in Saturday’s
International Championship game against Japan. The
appearance marks the fifth straight for a team from
Curacao, the third in a row by a Pabao squad.
The 16-run outburst is the highest single-game run total
by any Curacao team in six years at the World Series
(1980 and every year since 2001). It is also the most
runs scored by a team in the 2005 tournament, edging
Newtown’s 15-run output vs. Davenport. The team went
13-for-27 (.481) vs. Guam after going just 12-for-66 in
its first three games.
“I know my team, and I expected the team to explode at
any time,” Isabella said.
Curacao scored 11 runs in the fifth inning alone. Ahead
5-1 through four innings, the Caribbean champs turned it
on by sending 15 hitters to the plate in the seven-hit
and five-walk inning.
Sorick Liberia knocked in the first run with a single
that scored Jurickson Profar, who had worked a one-out
walk and advanced to third on a pickoff attempt at first
base. Alexander Rodriguez stroked a two-run single three
batters later. Willie Rifaela then smashed a three-run
homer to give his mates a 10-run lead at 11-1.
Profar added a two-run single later in the inning.
Rodriguez, who was hitless in three at-bats going into
the game, started the scoring in the second. Pinch
hitting for Rylan Reina, Rodriguez connected for a
two-run single for the start of his 2-for-3, four-RBI
“I wanted a left-handed batter who can go to all
fields,” Isabella responded when asked about the early
pinch hitting appearance.
to go unnoticed was the pitching of Christopher Garia,
who tossed four hitless innings before allowing a
leadoff double to Alomar Rdialul in the fifth. He was
chased a walk and a hit later with two outs in the
“I felt very good,” Garia said of his outing through
“I tried to throw an outside fastball but I threw it
over the middle of the plate,” he said of the double
that broke up the no-hit bid.
Garia allowed one run on two hits and a pair of walks in
4.2 innings. He fanned nine, including five straight
beginning with the final out of the first inning.
Guam skipper Shon Muna credited the Curacao team as
having “really well-focused kids.” His squad just
couldn’t keep up with the focused Curacao bunch,
especially during the 10-run barrage.
During the inning, he told his team, “We’ve made it this
far. It’s an honor to be here. It’s the farthest (Guam)
has gone. Let’s make the most of it.”
Muna simply was reiterating what he said to them prior
to the game.
“I told them to go have fun, but I that didn’t start
until the (bottom of the) fifth inning when they started
hitting the ball,” he said.
With runners on second and third, Isabella summoned
Profar to get close it out. The righthander, who is the
likely starter against Japan in Saturday’s international
finale, struck out Gerald Borja on three pitches to end
© 2005, Little League Baseball
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