Deion Is Prime Time
Curacao advances to International Championship on Deion Rosalia’s
walk-off three-run homer against Venezuela
By Mark Rogoff
As the saying goes, “good pitching stops good hitting.”
Entering Thursday’s International semifinal game featuring Curacao
and Venezuela, no one was quite sure if that old saying would hold
true for the Caribbean champs. After all, Venezuela had scored 34
runs in its three games of round-robin play.
Well, the saying held true.
Curacao allowed just two Venezuela runs in seven innings, and Deion
Rosalia’s three-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the seventh
erased a 2-1 deficit, giving Curacao a 4-2 win and a spot in
Saturday’s International Championship game.
Rosalia was down to his last strike when he drove a 1-2 fastball
from Reinaldo Amaro over the wall in right-centerfield.
“It felt great,” Rosalia said in perfect English. “I just went for
Curacao’s first two batters in the seventh went down on strikes, and
Ademar Rifaela kept the inning alive with a bloop single to center.
Vincent Anthonia then worked a full-count walk, which set the stage
“We can expect everything from everyone all the time,” Curacao
manager Vernon Isabella said through a translator. “It’s a team.
They do their job and play their baseball.”
Anthonia and Entwin Reigina combined to hold Venezuela to two runs
and six hits in seven innings. Reigna came on to pitch in the fifth
with two outs, the bases loaded and the game tied at 1-1. Isabella
called on the 4-foot-10, 93-pounder to face the 5-foot-10, 182-pound
Amaro. The result of the David-Goliath matchup: Reigina struck out
Amaro on three pitches, the last two of which were curveballs in the
“I wasn’t scared,” Reigina said through a translator. “I pitched to
other boys with the same size. I knew I just had to throw the ball.”
Reigina did give up the lead in the top of the seventh, when Bryan
Charry hit a solo homer that made it 2-1. That blast set off a wild
celebration on the Venezuela side, which only motivated Reigina and
his squad. Reigina settled down to strike out the side, giving
Curacao the momentum for the bottom of the inning.
“It made me want to beat them,” Rosalia said.
“I still had the faith that in the bottom of the seventh something
would happen,” added Isabella.
The view from the Venezuela side: “You always get happy for a home
run, but we knew the game wasn’t over,” manager Jesus E. Paez said
through interpreter Dr. Luis Sanchez.
Curacao had nearly won it in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs
and runners on first and second, Kirvin Moesquit grounded one hard
to the right side. The ball seemed destined to go into the outfield
for the game-winning hit, but the ball struck Ulrick Carmelia in the
leg as he ran from first to second. By rule, he was called out, and
the game went into extra innings.
Curacao took a 1-0 lead in the first on Anthonia’s two-out solo
homer. Venezuela pinch hitter Edward Lobo tied it in the fourth with
a bloop RBI double down the right-field line.
It had looked as if the Venezuela offense would wreck havoc again
right from the start, loading the bases in the top of the first
before Anthonia eventually got out of the jam. Charry got things
started with a single to left. After two strikeouts, Omar Villalobos
worked a walk and Miguel Romero was hit by a pitch. That brought up
Amaro, who hit a sharp grounder to Rosalia at first base. Rosalia
stabbed it and threw to Anthonia, who was covering the bag.
“We didn’t show that offensive power that we had in the past,”
Venezuela manager Jesus E. Paez said through interpreter Dr. Luis
© 2007, Little League Baseball
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