Game 13
Latin America
12 vs. MEA
0

Sunday, August 17, 2008
6:00PM ET


Latin America Punches Ticket to Series Semifinals

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 D.

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 game.

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 at second.

But the 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 5-0.

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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