Mercy, what a Curacao win!
Curacao (1-1) to face Guam (1-1) in do-or-die game Tuesday night
By Mark Rogoff
Looking past their game against Italy in Pool C play would have been an easy thing to do.
A group of Curacao All-Stars from Pabao Little League, after all, have played in the World Series for six straight years, including a title-winning squad in 2004.
Italy is being represented at the Little League Baseball World Series for just the second time in the 62-year history of the event and for the first time with Italy-born kids. (The 1979 Italy squad that competed in South Williamsport was composed of American-born kids living on Aviano Air Force Base.)
Curacao, however, was able to leave the history just as that, staying focused for a convincing 14-1 mercy-rule shortened win over Emilia, Italy (0-3) in front of 2,400 at Volunteer Stadium. The win places Curacao in a do-or-die game with Guam Tuesday evening at Volunteer Stadium.
Both Curacao and Guam have identical 1-1 records, so the winner will advance out of Pool C play as the second-place team. Mexico won the pool by going 3-0.
“We just came to play ball,” said Curacao coach Michelangelo Celestina through an interpreter. “We just wanted to win and wait for the game tomorrow.
The Pabao Little Leaguers earned the victory with four home runs, including two by Juremi Profar.
Curacao broke open a 1-1 ballgame in the bottom of the second, when they scored six runs on four hits, including a grand slam by Profar.
They would tack on six more in the third, getting a three-run homer from Profar that made it 11-1, a two-run blast from Tivon Faneyte that made it 13-1, and a solo shot from Hemsley Martha that closed out the scoring.
“I like the distance,” Profar said when asked what he liked best about his home runs.
Profar is following the footsteps of his brother Jurickson, who played at the Little League World series in 2004 and 2005. It was Jurickson’s two-run homer in the 2004 title game against a team from Thousand Oaks, California that made it 3-0 and proved to be the difference in Curacao’s 5-2 win.
Jurickson this year played with Curacao in the Senior League World Series in Bangor, Maine. His Curacao team lost 10-8 in the finals to a club from Upper Deerfield, New Jersey.
Italy ends its Little League World Series run having been outscored 33-7. The totals do include a nail-biting 7-6 defeat against Guam, a game in which Italy led 6-2 through four and a half innings.
Down 1-0 with two outs in the second on Monday, Italy got a game-tying RBI double from Nicolo Cereti. Curacao had taken a 1-0 lead in the first on Junters Dosset’s RBI single.
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