Game 20
Latin America 11
 vs.
Mexico 1

Wednesday, August 22, 2007
7:00PM ET


Viva Venezuela!
Venezuela is lone 3-0 team at 2007 Little League Baseball World Series

By Andrew Schimmel
Special Correspondent

Latin America’s offensive prowess was center stage once again on Wednesday under the bright lights of Volunteer Stadium, as the Venezuela Little Leaguers became the only team World Series play to achieve a 3-0 record in pool play with an 11-1 win over Mexico.

Venezuela finished round-robin play having outscored their opponents by a 34-4 margin in three games, an average of 11.3 runs per game and a 0.89 ERA for the pitching staff.

In a must-win game for Mexico, the Seguro Social Little Leaguers couldn’t gather any momentum against their foes from South America. The 11-run outburst was backed a stellar outing from Latin America starting pitcher Alberth Castillo, who struck out 12 and tossed 5 2/3 innings of three-hit ball.

Mexico was the unfortunate victim of two days worth of torrential rains, which forced Little League officials to exercise the last possible option: a doubleheader. Mexico lost its first game earlier in the day, 4-2, against Chinese-Taipei. Little League officials believe this was the first scheduled twin bill for a team in World Series history.

“(The double header) didn’t affect us at all,” said manager Andres Martinez through translator Sergio Guzman. “What affected us was not being able to play for the last two days. It was too much rest without doing anything at all. Had the weather been a lot better, things could have been a lot different.”

The Venezuela All-Stars came into the contest fresh off of a thorough 21-2 win over EMEA, which saw three different players belt home runs on to the outfield hill of Lamade Stadium. Against Mexico, Omar Villalobos picked up right where they left off in the first inning, clubbing a three-run shot for his third home run of the tournament.

Villalobos attributed his success and power to his work ethic.

“I work hard at it,” he said with the help of translator Dr. Luis Sanchez. “I practice every day.”

Castillo was perfect through 3 2/3 innings until Mexico’s Antonio Pantoja stepped up to the plate and belted a solo shot over the left field wall, his only real blemish on the night.

“Excellent,” said manager Jesus Paez of his pitcher’s accomplishment. “I always had 100 percent confidence in him.”

Latin America advances to the second round to face Curacao Thursday at 12 noon, and will send Miguel Romero to the mound.

 


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