Surprising Europe Gives Asia-Pacific All They Can Handle
By: Jesse Caputo
After the first inning, the outcome of the game seemed all but settled.
Surprising certainly, but settled.
Southern Guam Little League, which represented Asia-Pacific Region, proved why it’s important for a team to play all six innings, winning 7-6 in dramatic walk-off fashion.
In the top of the first inning, Europe Region champs Emilia Little League had three consecutive hits to ignite a four-run inning. By the middle of the fifth, Emilia seemingly was well on its way to a 6-2 victory.
Asia-Pacific couldn’t seem to solve relief pitcher Nicolo Cereti or to get any offense going against a fundamentally sound Europe team. With two runners on and no one out in the bottom of the fifth, Asia-Pacific infielder Johnny Quenga tripled to the wall, knocking in two runs and bringing Guam within one run.
“I kept telling my team to believe in
themselves,” Asia-Pacific manager William Meeks said. “They came
Cruz delivered in a 1-2-3 inning, striking out the side with only 10 pitches.
“Nick has been my closer ever since we starting playing baseball,” Meeks said. “I told him to go out there and pitch one inning. If we hold them down, we can come back.”
Pitching kept Meeks’ boys in the game, and now it was time for their bats to come through.
For Europe, Lorenzo Fabbri had come on to pitch in the fifth and remained in for the bottom of the sixth. He struck out the first batter, but he hit the next with a fastball that got away from him.
Following another strike out, Parish Reyes hit a two-out screamer to center that landed at the base of the wall for a double.
Quenga again stepped to the plate in a big situation. This time runners were on second and third with two outs.
He lined Fabbri’s pitch to left field, and Giovanni Fuso was unable to make the relay throw home in time to get Reyes as he rounded third to score the winning run.
His teammates stormed onto the field to celebrate as Europe walked off, heads hung in disappointment, after coming one out away from a victory.
“This is the first time an Italian team has made it to Williamsport, and I was afraid we’d lose by the 10-run rule,” Europe coach Piero Fabbri said. “We needed just a little more, but I’m proud of my guys.”
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