By Jesse Caputo
In a prime-time ESPN game under the lights at Howard J. Lamade
Stadium, Kennon Fontenot stepped onto the mound excited to show the
country his ability.
A little too excited.
Fontenot, Louisiana’s flame throwing right-hander did not showcase
any of the pinpoint control that he earlier had used against
Northwest, but he did show grit and determination, going 5 2/3
innings in Southwest’s 6-1 win over Tampa, Florida for a spot in
Saturday’s United States Championship.
Louisiana will take on Waipahu, Hawaii in the U.S. final.
“From what I saw tonight, he gets ahead with the fastball and then
gets you with the curveball,” Florida manager Joe McGuire said. “I
was trying to get my batters to step up in the box, but they
In his overexcitement, Fontenot issued two walks and threw two wild
pitches in the first three innings. One of those wild pitches came
in the third with a runner on third base, which accounted for
Florida’s only run.
Fontenot settled down from there. He retired the next five batters
in order to give his offense a chance to strike again. The team
responded with a run in the third to make it 4-1 and two more in the
fourth to put the game out of reach.
Even with his overexcitement, Fontenot recorded 11 strikeouts,
bringing his total to 23 in 11 2/3 innings at the Little League
Baseball World Series.
“When Kennon pitches, I was telling coach Joe (McGuire), he’s
effectively wild sometimes,” Southwest manager Charlie Phillips
said. “He does give me a few gray hairs every time he pitches.”
Florida starter Michael McGuire started off shaky as well. He hit
three batters and walked two, and was unable to find a rhythm in his
1 1/3 innings of work on the mound.
After working around two hit batsmen in the first to hold Louisiana
scoreless, McGuire couldn’t work the same magic in the second.
Shortstop Kevin Merrell’s throwing error started the inning, and
more control issues for McGuire opened the door to a three-run
inning for Lake Charles to put the Southwest Region champs ahead
Kevin Merrell pitched in relief, but was unable to keep the Lake
Charles’ bats quiet.
In the bottom of the third, Bryce Jordan took a Merrell fastball
deep into the night, depositing it over the hedge in straight-away
center field for the first Louisiana homer of the World Series.
© 2008, Little League Baseball
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