Game 6: Caribbean  2 vs. Latin America 1

Hariquez Throws Gem

Author: Gabe Hiatt

Source: South Williamsport, Pa.

Date/Time: Saturday, August 22, 2009, 1:00pm ET

Pabao Little League’s (PLL) pitcher Claycandy (pronounced Clay-sandy) Hariquez struck out 13 batters, knocked in the winning win, and scored the first run in a tightly fought 2-1 victory over Coquivacoa Little League (CLL) from Maracaibo, Venezuela, at Volunteer Stadium on the second day of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
It was the first game for both teams in the tournament.

The phenom, pitching for the Caribbean Region Champions from Willemstad, Curacao, only walked one batter in tossing a complete game. His coach wasn’t as impressed as you might expect.

“He threw very well, but I know him very well, also,” manager Vernon Isabella said. “I know he can perform much better than he did today.”
Isabella cited Hariquez’s performanace against the same Latin American Region Champions in last year’s Little League World Series where the manager said his pitcher tallied 14 or 15 strikeouts.

“I was ready for the game,” Hariquez said. “I knew that I was going to be the starting pitcher of the first World Series game.”

He retired all three batters he faced in every inning but the fourth, when he allowed an RBI double by left fielder Mikey Eddie.

“I thought we were going to take the lead that inning,” Coquivacoa manager Freddy Moran said. “I had the middle of my order coming up.”
The game was tied 1-all in the fourth, but Hariquez struck out center fielder Oberto Munoz with a pair runners aboard and two outs before the team from Maracaibo, Venezuela would score the winning run in the bottom half of the inning.

Pabao shortstop Junters Dossett drew a walk to lead off the frame, and Hariquez was the hero by stroking a double to score Dossett with the winning run.

“It felt good,” Dossett said. “It was an important run.”

Hariquez accounted for his team’s first run, in the second inning, as well. He drew a walk, and then beat the throw to home after first baseman Ildion Martina was tagged out at second trying to stretch his single into a double.

If not for Hariquez, Coquivacoa pitcher Jose Martinez may have been the player of the game. He threw 4.2 innings, allowing only two hits and fanning eight batters.

“I knew beforehand that he was a very good pitcher,” Isabella said. “According to statistics in the regionals for Latin America, he was the best pitcher for Venezuela.”

While this was Martinez’s first game in Williamsport, Pa., Hariquez and four other teammates participated in last year’s tournament.
“I felt less nervous than last year,” Hariquez said.

Before the game Isabella sang his country’s national anthem. If they can squeeze more gems out of a calm Hariquez, the Caribbean Region Champions could find themselves singing their way into the World Series Championship.