Game 15: Europe 0 vs. Mexico 13

Mexico’s Lucky 13

Author: Zach Swartz - Special Correspondent

Source: South Williamsport, Pa.

Date/Time: Monday, August 24, 2009, 12:00pm ET

After the team’s seven-inning marathon victory against Canada on Saturday, the Mexico Region Champions’ win over Europe on Monday was a walk in the park.

And it was a much-needed one at that. Their mercy rule-shortened 13-0 win at Howard J. Lamade Stadium improved their record to 2-0 in Pool D and gave them a spot in an International semifinal.

“All the tournaments I’ve been to, I always expected the first game to be very difficult, very tight,” coach Carlos Noguera said through interpreter Sergio Guzman. “One must adapt through a situation, and this is what we did. We adapted, we made the adjustments for the second game.”

“Adjustments” is an understatement. While Guadalupe Trevino Kelly Little League (GTKLL) scrapped out 11 hits in its extra-inning win Saturday, it scored only twice. On Monday, it earned one more hit but 11 more runs.

That’s partly thanks to shortstop Raul Rojas, who had three doubles and an RBI in the win and is 5-for-7 overall in the tournament.

“I feel very happy, very glad to get those hits,” Rojas said through Guzman. “I’m the second hitter in the lineup, so that’s my job, I’m supposed to get those hits and I’m very happy.”

Guadalupe scored at least three runs in three of the four innings it played. With starting hurler Oscar Noguera lasting to face all but one batter (he allowed no runs and just one hit in his 3.2 innings of work), they could have made do with just one of those runs.

Eight players had hits, but only four recorded RBI. Cleanup hitter Luis Perez cleaned up, accounting for three RBI on a two-run double and a sacrifice fly.

The team’s three runs in the first inning came on the sac fly and a pair of errors. It was a precursor of what was to come. None of the 13 runs came via the home run, and only six were earned. KMC American Little League (KALL) committed seven errors on the day, bringing its two-game total to 13.

“You just tell them to keep their heads up,” KALL manager Ed Prince said. “We’ve played a lot of games, but we haven’t been like this. Thirteen errors in two games officially, it’s rough. You can’t win that way, especially when you’re not hitting. And we’re not hitting.”

Even though the Europe Region Champions will not move on to the next round, they will stay to watch the rest of the tournament. Not only that, they’ll watch the replay of each of their games on TV.

“They’re disappointed they didn’t play up to their potential, but yeah, they’re having fun,” Prince said. “Look around. This is awesome. Everything else, except for the game, has been a ball.”

Meanwhile, GTKLL moves on to face their fellow undefeated Asia-Pacific Region Champions on Tuesday. The game will determine who gets the No. 1 seed for Pool D in the second round.

“We’re a little more relaxed now that we’ve moved on to the second round,” Noguera said through Guzman. “Now we’re just going to watch Japan against Latin America and scout a little bit, and play tomorrow a little more relaxed.”

The Europe Region champs will play their final game Tuesday against Canada, although they plan to schedule some exhibition games with some of the teams in the U.S. Division and possibly the Middle East & Africa Region Champions.