Mexico Champions Earn First Win With Run In Seventh
Source: South Williamsport, Pa.
Date/Time: Saturday, August 22, 2009, 11:00am ET
After the first day of the 63rd Little League World Series when 53 total
runs were scored in the four games, Saturday’s opening contest between Hasting
Community Little League of Vancouver, Canada (HCLL) and Guadalupe Trevino Kelly
Little League of Reynosa, Mexico (GTKLL) showcased the first pitching duel.
With the game tied at 1-all in the sixth inning, fans on each side traded chants back and forth. “Canada! Canada!” came from the left, and “Si se puede!” - translated as, “Yes, it is possible!” - from the right.
The cheer originated when Guadalupe won the Little League World Series in 1997. Indeed it was possible for the Mexico Region Champions, who walked off with a 2-1 nail-biting victory.
“I really believe, in a very difficult game like this, that (the cheers) motivated the kids,” GTKLL manager Augustin Montoya said. “They really get pumped up with it.”
“I’m really glad to hear it,” said right fielder Luis Perez, who was 3-for-3 in the game. “It makes us happy and it makes us win.”
The win didn’t come easily.
With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the sixth, GTKLL second baseman Agustin Montoya, batting in the ninth spot, stepped to the plate. Facing an 0-2 count, he popped the ball into the glove of diving HCLL pitcher Anthony Cusati. The runner on second, thinking the catch was not going to be made, was doubled off putting an end to the threat and sending the game to extra innings.
After the first two batters reached base in the bottom half of the seventh inning for Guadalupe, catcher Mario Cardenas, who had entered as a defensive replacement in the fifth, stepped up with one down. With runners on second and third, he hit a dribbler out in front of the plate that pitcher Anthony Cusati picked up. Cusati turned and threw the ball to first base, but the Canada player at first base, Katie Reyes, had also charged the ball on the play and could not get back to the base to catch Cusati’s throw allowing the winning run to score.
“I’m proud of my boys, they played really hard today,” HCLL manager Vito Bordignon said. “They played really well. It was a tough game either way. It’s nerve-racking (to manage a one-run game), but it is beautiful to watch. It must have been great television for sure.”
The contest’s only run through the first three and a half innings scored in the second frame by HCLL as Cusati, playing shortstop at the time, blasted a home run to center field for an early 1-0 lead.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the fourth, when GTKLL right fielder Jorge Maldonado slapped an RBI double off the left field wall to knot the game at one.
The Canada Region champions’ best threat to break the tie came in the fifth. An error and a pair of walks loaded the bases with two outs for cleanup hitter Taz Burman. He hit a hard line drive to the shortstop to end the threat.
Despite the effort of both pitchers, neither entered in the decision. Matsuda threw just 69 pitches before leaving in the sixth inning. Guadalupe pitcher Raymundo Berrones went 4.2 innings, allowing just three hits and fanning seven batters.
Hastings, playing its first game of the tournament against GTKLL, will move on to face Asia-Pacific Region Champions Kuei-Shan Little League of Taoyuan of Chinese Taipei (1-0) Sunday at 3 p.m. Guadalupe, also opening tournament play on Saturday, takes on Europe Region winner KMC American Little League of Germany (0-1) Monday at noon.