Game 1
New England
6 vs. Northwest 1

Friday, August 18, 2006
4:00PM ET


Big first inning seals the game for New Hampshire
Bean deals and Hartmann delivers as New Hampshire takes game one of the 2006 Little League World Series

By Brandon Miller
Special Correspondent

After the song, “It’s a Small World,” had faded away from the opening ceremonies, it was time to get down to business, and get down to business is exactly what Portsmouth Little League did. The All-Stars from New Hampshire showed that the time-tested key of steady pitching and timely hitting is still the key to winning games.

In front of a crowd of 9,436 that included the governor of New Hampshire, John Lynch, Portsmouth Little League from Portsmouth, N.H., defeated the Murrayhill All-Stars from Beaverton, Ore., 6-1, in the opener of the 2006 Little League Baseball World Series.

“It just speaks volumes about people in our state,” said Portsmouth manager Mark McCauley, when informed that the governor was on hand to take in the game. “It’s typical of our state. We’ve got so much support and I know our mayor was throwing a big party.”

Speaking of support, after shutting out its previous two opponents in regional play, Portsmouth knew that all it needed was a couple runs and the pitching would take care of the rest.

“We’re deep in offense” said Mr. McCauley. “(The team) loved the fact that they got to play game one….this is what we do, we play baseball.”

The runs came in a hurry with a first-inning grand slam by shortstop Billy Hartmann. The rest was up to starting pitcher Jordan Bean who shut down the Oregon All-Stars with a 14-strikeout, two-hit performance.

Bean got things going in the first when he drew a one-out walk and pinch runner John Graham scored when the next batter, third baseman Matthew Feeney, doubled to left-center field. The inning continued with a hit batsman, a single, and then the big blow by shortstop Hartmann who hit a ball that cleared the wall in right-center field.

“(The grand slam) was one of the best moments of my life,” said Hartmann who had previously had only one home run during All-Star play. When asked if the ball did in fact hit off the top of the fence and go over for a home run, Hartmann replied, “I don’t really know, I just put my head down and started running.”

Murrayhill manager Jeff Keller explained that it was jitters that hurt his team, especially since it’s the first time in 48 years that a team from Oregon has made the Series.

Fueled by the quick run support, Bean began dealing. Included in his complete-game performance was a crucial strikeout with the bases loaded in the third against Devon DeJardin, whom had bested Bean in the second inning with a solo shot to center field. The home run surrendered to DeJardin proved to be the only mistake Bean made on the day as he pitched Portsmouth to their first victory of the tournament.

“Every time he (Jordan Bean) pitches, we know we’re in the game” said McCauley. “We know he’s not going to give many up.”

“It feels special to be on that field,” said Bean who was calm and collected the entire game. “I just don’t want to look stupid on TV.”

Murrayhill Little League was not without there own heroics. DeJardin provided the offense for the team with a blast in the second inning.

“It wasn’t really a bad pitch,” said Bean when asked about giving up the home run. “I hit the location, but he had a good swing and hit a bomb.”

Aside from the first inning, Murrayhill manager Jeff Keller liked the way the team played noting that without the first inning, it would have been a 1-1 game with possibly some extra innings. “We had opportunities and didn’t get the hit,” said Keller.

Derek Keller came in the game in relief of DeJardin and pitched a solid five and two-thirds innings, giving up only two hits and one run while striking out six.

Manager Jeff Keller expects DeJardin to bounce back from his bad outing and possibly start the team’s next game on Sunday. “He showed the heart he had inside,” said Keller about DeJardin staying in the game and hitting his home run.

 

 
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