Game 19
Northwest 2
 vs. Midwest 1

Monday, August 21, 2006
8:00PM ET


Would You Like ‘Fry’ With That?
Oregon Uses Jace Fry’s Complete-Game Three-Hitter to Advance to U.S. Semifinal

By Mark Rogoff
Special Correspondent

A spectacular sunset with shades of purple and orange provided the backdrop at Howard J. Lamade Stadium as Monday night’s do-or-die game in Pool B got under way.

That same purple and orange also make up the uniforms of the Midwest Region champs from Columbia, Mo., and perhaps it was a sign as Beaverton, Ore., made the sun set on Missouri’s dream run at the 60th Little League Baseball World Series.

Jace Fry tossed a complete-game three-hitter, and Devon DeJardin’s RBI single in the top of the sixth provided the go-ahead run, as Oregon posted a 2-1 come-from-behind victory in front of 15,200 Little League fans.

With the win, Oregon advances out of pool play and into Wednesday’s U.S. semifinal. Oregon finishes second in Pool B, having lost a head-to-head tiebreaker with New England region champ New Hampshire.

Fry, who hadn’t pitched since Aug.13 in the Northwest Region championship, struck out 10 and walked five.

“He’s a great pitcher,” said manager Jeff Keller. “His velocity was probably better in the fifth and sixth innings than it was early in the game. He’s a warrior. It’s fun to watch him. It’s fun to coach him.”

Asked how he felt about his performance, Fry said, “I was OK.”

Fry’s RBI double in the fifth tied it at 1-1. The hit scored special pinch runner Corey Pool, who was in for Perry Lampman, who stroked a one-out triple to right to get things going.

“I was tired, my arms and legs were wobbly,” Fry said about his physical state leading up to his fifth-inning at-bat. “But then my last at-bat I was just swinging for a base hit, just (hoping to) have something drop.”

In the sixth, Miguel Rivera smacked a one-out double, and went to third on a passed ball. Up came DeJardin, who blooped a base hit into centerfield to score Rivera.

“After the double I had, we knew we were back in this,” Rivera said. “After Devon’s hit, it was really exciting.”

“Some kids were thinking that this could be it, and we didn’t want to go home,” added DeJardin, who was the losing pitcher against New Hampshire on Friday and the winning pitcher Sunday versus Louisiana. “We wanted to keep playing out here and playing ball. We didn’t want our summer to end.”

Jeffrey Ausmus put Oregon ahead 1-0 in the second. With two outs and Beau Burkett on third, Ausmus chopped an infield hit in front of the plate that Fry fielded and threw to first. Ausmus beat the throw and Burkett crossed the plate for the game’s first run.

Fry had to work out of trouble in the third, issuing three straight walks after getting John Osborne to strike out to open the inning. With the bases loaded, he fanned Landon Clapp and induced Burkett to ground out to second.

“We had scoring opportunities and we couldn’t get that one hit or that one break to get a few more runs across,” said Missouri manager Jeff Echelmeier.

Missouri starter Ryan Phillips also tossed a complete game, giving up two runs (one earned) on eight hits while striking out 10.

“Somebody had to win that game and somebody had to lose that game, and that’s a shame because both pitchers pitched their hearts out,” manager Keller said. “We were fortunate. We got some pitches to drive and we put the ball in play.”

Missouri finished pool play 1-2, suffering a pair of one-run defeats.

“We knew the competition was going to be really tough out here,” manager Echelmeier said. “I’m proud of the effort they gave.”

Oregon, meanwhile, gets its wish of continuing their summer-long baseball journey.

“You should have seen the smiles on their faces when this thing was over,” manager Keller said. “We walked on the field and just kind of looked each other and just said, ‘We get to play again.’”

 


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