Latin America Punches Ticket to
By Jesse Caputo
Latin America walked into Volunteer Stadium Sunday night with the
chance to punch their ticket to the next round of the of the Little
League World Series. Six innings later, Coquivacao Little League of
Maracaibo, Venezuela left little doubt for those in attendance about
their playoff potential.
Venezuela swung hot bats all night long in a 12-0 win over the MEA
champs Arabian American Little League. They join Japan as the first
teams to advance to the semifinal round. Both clubs have 2-0 records
in Pool D play, while Saudi Arabia and Canada are both 0-2. The two
clubs will play Tuesday afternoon to decide first place in Pool
Latin America starter Arnoldo Sanchez started off shaky in the first
inning, giving up a leadoff double and two walks before working out
of a jam. A boisterous Venezuela crowd showed plenty of support for
their starting pitcher, but made him more nervous than confident.
It took some helpful advice from pitching coach Jesus Aranguren to
settle down the Latin America pitcher.
“He told me not to be nervous, to stay clam and not to pay attention
to the fans from Venezuela,” Sanchez said.
After the first-inning talk, Sanchez limited Saudi Arabia to just
two hits over the next three innings, recording five strikeouts
before being lifted in the fifth. Relievers Leroy Brancho and Will
Changarotty both followed with a scoreless inning to close out the
Already trailing 1-0 after the first inning, MEA starting pitcher
Beau Branton struggled in the second, unable to settle down despite
a strong defensive effort from shortstop Chris Beyers. With one out
and a runner on first, Beyers dove up the middle to stop a Humberto
Matos grounder, and then lunged to the bag to force out the runner
inning started to unravel from there as Branton gave up a pair of RBI singles
and a two-run double to allow Venezuela to break the game open at
In the fourth inning, Branton gave up three more runs, highlighted by
a monster two-run homer by Gustavo Perdomo.
Alex Husain came on to relieve Branton in the middle of the fifth,
but couldn’t lock down the Latin America offense any better.
In the sixth inning, Husain surrendered four more runs, making the
score 12-0 and putting the game out of reach for MEA.
Latin America manager Freddy Moran said that besides the early
nerves of his pitcher, the team played well and he was very pleased
with their performance.
Venezuela has scored a tournament-high 20 runs through its first two
games, including eight against Canada on Friday.
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