Feeling Blum? So is Saudi Arabia.
Led by a three-run, three-RBI day from starting pitcher Kevin Blum, Toms River Little League explodes for a 10-run shutout of the Arabian American Little League in Tuesday's consolation game
Source: South Williamsport, Pa.
Date/Time: Tuesday, August 24, 2010, 12:00pm ET
The game may not have mattered in the grand scheme of things here at the 2010 Little League World Series, but it certainly meant something to the Toms River National Little League.
"We didn't want to come to Williamsport and be known as the team that didn't even get one win," said Russell Petranto. "So it was good to get it today."
"Today's game was the way the kids normally play," said Toms River manager Paul Deceglie. "I thought this was a good way to go out, so I'm really proud of them all."
Toms River scored early and often Tuesday afternoon at Howard J. Lamade Stadium, scoring in four of six innings and racking up 13 hits for a 10-0 win over the Arabian American Little League.
Starting pitcher Kevin Blum and shortstop Patrick Marinaccio went a combined 6-for-8 out of the leadoff and third spots, respectively, the duo responsible for six runs scored and four RBI.
"Kevin came out today and played a great game," said Deceglie. "So did Patrick. And the way he hit the ball today is the way we all normally hit the ball – those line-drive, hard-hit balls. All these boys came out and played their hearts out today."
But it was Petranto who got the whole thing started with the first pitch of the second at-bat of the day, lofting the offering over the wall in left center for a one-out, 1-0 lead.
Marinaccio followed up with a double to left and catcher Jeff Ciervo followed suit, plating Marinaccio with a ground-rule double for a 2-0 edge before MEA starter Bradlee Sumner got Jake Loffredo swinging for the third out of the inning.
The Mid-Atlantic champs would get two more in the top of the second, when Blum's blast down the leftfield line that just stayed fair also brought home Joey Hertgen.
Saudi Arabia would struggle to get chances all game, drawing just six baserunners off two hits and a quartet of walks through six innings, never advancing past second base in the 1:55 affair.
Toms River would tack on another pair to up the score to 6-0 in the top of the fifth, when Blum touched them all to lead off the inning, but not by lifting another homer over the wall.
Rather, Blum turned a triple into the fifth run of the game for the Mid-Atlantic All-Stars when the MEA rightfielder bobbled the hit that rolled all the way to the warning track, trotting safely into home when the throw into third was off-target with no one nearby to field it.
Marinaccio soon after joined his starting pitcher as the only two players to score three times, when he circled the bases in the more traditional method – a solo home run to straightaway centerfield.
"They came out strong," said Saudi Arabia manager Jeffrey Barnett. "We had only a couple pitchers left in the stable, so we took them out today. Of course, we were looking for more than what we got from our pitching staff. We could have played better defense… but overall I think the boys played rather well."
The Mid-Atlantic would see another hit in the frame, but wouldn't bring him around to keep the score at 6-0 entering the bottom half of the fifth.
But Toms River broke the game wide open in its final three outs of the Series – highlighted by a full-count triple from Blum and the fourth homer of the game, courtesy of Joey Rose – to move its run total up to 10. The three-bagger, Blum's second of the contest, tied him for the all-time Little League World Series record for triples in a game, joining Kennon Fontenot of Lake Charles Little League, who first set mark back in 2008 against the Great Lakes.
"The beauty about this team was through this whole run, every day there was a different hero," said Deceglie. "Today it was Kevin and Patrick, another day it was Joey Rose, Jeff Ciervo… It's always somebody, and that's what propelled this team to get where we are. And I couldn't ask more out of a team than what these kids gave."
The shutout would hold with a 10-0 final, sending the Toms River National Little League home with its first-ever Little League World Series win.
"I think the overall experience getting here, it was probably the most difficult thing that you could do at this age level," said Deceglie. "But I would never change it for anything in the world. This was the best time of our lives."
Blum went 3-for-4 from the plate, ripping a homer and a pair of triples in his final three at-bats. From the rubber, he allowed just a pair of hits in five innings of work, fanning eight. Anthony Deceglie would take over on the hill to close out the sixth, issuing a walk and fanning the final batter of the game.
"Kevin pitched a very, very, very fine game. He didn't want to come out in the sixth inning, but every once in a while he complains about his arm so I felt that was a good time to take him out," said Deceglie.
"We just wanted to win our last game at Williamsport," added Blum. "We wanted to end our Little League careers with a win. We didn't change our order or throw a kid who has never pitched before. We really wanted to win."