Southeast Begins Run in Style
By Jesse Caputo
The first game of the Little League Baseball World Series went about as close to perfection as possible for one team, while the other team had the script of exactly what they didn’t want to happen.
Tampa, Fl., beat Rapid City, SD., 10-0, in a mercy rule-shortened, four-inning game at Volunteer Stadium Friday afternoon.
“We didn’t have the best top of the first inning as everyone saw, and that made [the players] tight,” South Dakota coach Steve Nolan said of Florida's eight-run effort. “The wheels fell off there in the top of the first and we just couldn’t get the wheels back on.”
Florida was loose and relaxed before the game, playing with their hats, joking around in the dugout, and talking in Mickey Mouse voices. Their relaxed attitude translated into their first win on the road to the championship.
After the first two batters of the game were walked and the third was hit by a pitch, Wyatt Reid came up in the first big situation of the game. Reid came through with a three-run triple which landed at the base of the wall and opened the scoring.
“After [the triple] we had the momentum,” Reid said. “So we just kept hitting and put a bunch of runs on the board.”
Following the big first inning, Florida followed with two more runs in the top of the second.
The bottom of the second presented the best opportunity for South Dakota to get back in the game. Following a fielding and throwing error by the second baseman and a walk issued by starter Levi Gilcrease, Matt Wilson came to the plate with one out and the bases loaded.
Florida manager Joe McGuire called time out and decided to bring in Darren Miller from left field to pitch out of the jam. Miller struck out both batters he faced to end the threat. South Dakota didn’t threaten again over the next two innings.
“He was excellent,” McGuire said of Miller. “Everywhere I called a pitch is right where he threw it.”
McGuire managed his bullpen
efficiently, using each pitcher for no more than 20 pitches so all
will be available to take the mound in their next game Sunday night
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