Latin American champs
finish first in Pool C after eight-inning 1-0 win vs. Saudi Arabia
By Mark Rogoff
Just because Jose A. Martinez’s night was over on the mound didn’t
make his night over in the batter’s box.
Martinez, who allowed just three hits while striking out 13 in six
shutout innings vs. Saudi Arabia, came to the plate with the bases
loaded and no outs in the bottom of the eighth in a scoreless
Martinez laced a single up the middle that scored Jordy D. Freitez
from third, giving his Venezuela team its second eight-inning
1-0 win of the tournament in front of 5,200 baseball fans at
With the victory, Venezuela finishes Pool C play with a 3-0 mark,
and will face Mexico in an International semifinal Wednesday. Saudi
Arabia (2-1) also advances to play Japan in Thursday’s International
“As a pitcher, I didn’t have the opportunity to win, but I knew as a
hitter I would give my friend Alexander (Ramirez) the chance to
win,” Martinez said through interpret Dr. Luis Sanchez.
Alexander pitched the seventh and eighth innings to earn the win.
“(I feel) very proud,” Martinez added. “I was just looking for any
ball to hit or a sacrifice fly.”
One might as well have said the game was brought to you by the
You couldn’t have asked anything more from Saudi starter Andrew
Holden and Martinez. Seventeen of the 18 outs Holden recorded were
strikeouts. Thirteen of the 18 outs Martinez recorded were punchouts.
Holden carried a no-hitter into the sixth, striking out lead-off man
Jordy D. Freitez before allowing a single up the middle to Manuel A.
Barrios. Holden got right back on track, striking out Roberto A.
Valera and Martinez to end the inning and his outing.
“He deserved a lot better than that,” said Saudi manager James
Durley. “He pitched a great game. He pitched a game that was good
enough to win. Our sticks just kind of faltered for us tonight.
That’s not taking anything away from Latin America. They played a
really good game. They did just enough to win.”
Venezuela nearly ended it in the bottom of the seventh against
reliever Nate Barnett. Danger F. Freitez and Alexander D. Ramirez
had back-to-back singles to lead of the inning. Wraunther D. Sanchez
then laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners.
That’s as far as they would get, though, as Barnett settled down to
get Ermison Y. Arellano to pop out and Eduardo M. Perozo to ground
out in a close play at first.
The Saudi All-Stars came right back in the top of the eighth with a
chance of their own. Barnett was hit by a pitch to lead off the
inning. He then went to second on a passed ball and third on a wild
pitch. Following a George Luo strikeout, Matt Timoney bunted down
the first base line. Ramirez bounced off the mound, picked up the
ball and threw to his catcher Perozo, who blocked the plate and
tagged out Barnett.
“They made the plays when they needed to,” manager Durley said. “It
was just a matter of execution, and it played out well for them.”
“That was a very important play because it maintained the shutout
and gave us hope to continue to obtain the victory,” Venezuela
manager Domingo A. Carrasquel said through interpreter Sanchez.
Martinez struck out the first eight batters he faced before Nate
Barnett smacked a single to left.
In its first eight-inning game, Venezuela and Saipan dueled for
seven shutout innings before Venezuela scored in the bottom of the
eighth to win it 1-0.
A Pool B game featuring Louisiana and Missouri also was scoreless
after eight innings. Louisiana won that affair 1-0 in nine innings.
“(Tonight) was a very important victory because it raises our hopes
and desire,” manager Carrasquel said. “Perhaps it wakes them up
offensively. They are kind of low in hits.”
“We came here to play and win no matter which team we encounter, and
with our heart we have we feel we can beat anybody.”
Saudi Arabia advances out of pool play for the first time since
“Being able to advance is something special for these boys,” said
manager Durley. “I’m very proud of them. They are very excited to
stick around for the semifinals.”
© 2006, Little League Baseball
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