Source: South Williamsport, Pa.
Date/Time: Day, August 19, 2011, 3:00pm ET
Combining to allow only three hits while striking out eight, Braydon Salzman, Nick Pratto and Ryo Takada of the West Region Champions from Huntington Beach, Calif., pitched a gem to defeat the New England Region Champions from Cumberland, R.I., 11-0.
Salzman, the game’s starter, threw three innings and allowed two hits while striking out five.
“I was kind of nervous because I didn’t know if they were a good team or not,” Salzman said. “I just had to throw strikes.
Salzman could only be slowed down by his pitch count—manager Jeff Pratto wanted to keep him under 50—and a hard line-drive off the bat of New England catcher Ryan McCormick that ricocheted off the brim of Salzman’s hat and forehead in the third inning.
“It just hurt a little bit,” Salzman said as he unveiled a deep red mark under his cap. “I didn’t know if I’d come back and throw strikes.”
After finishing the inning with 42 pitches for the day, Nick Pratto took the mound and threw two no-hit innings while striking out one. Ryo Takada then closed the game by striking out two in the sixth inning.
New England manager David Belisle wasn’t surprised with the strong pitching performance from the opposition.
“You gotta give them credit, they threw hard,” he said. “We knew coming in the pitching would be a step up. We tightened our hands on the bat once we got behind and pressed.”
New England was down 3-0 when starting pitcher Max Hanuschak, who has asthma, had trouble breathing and had to be taken out early.
“Max had a little anxiety attack, couldn’t breathe,” Belisle said. “We didn’t take a chance. He fought hard.”
After Hanuschak’s departure, Huntington Beach put together a five-hit, six-run fifth inning to put the game out of reach.
West manager Jeff Pratto saw some nervous bats to open the game, but soon enough a couple of nicely placed hits opened up the offense.
“We were having some trouble getting to their pitcher at first,” Pratto said. “It was nerves—some guys were tight in their swings. We’re not a team that will come out and pound five homers. We’re a singles and doubles team.”
Catcher Hagen Danner went 2-4, including a triple to open the game. Shortstop Trevor Windisch finished the day 1-3 with a game-high three RBI.
Salzman helped his cause with one hit, one RBI and three runs scored.
On the other side, Belisle saw a nervous, timid team in his dugout on Friday, one that he assures won’t be on the field in their next game.
“We looked nervous and didn’t play our best today,” he said. “We’ll go at it tomorrow with a more relaxed approach. I want them to be positive, more aggressive.”
Belisle believes his post-game message will hit home.
“I told them they owe the next game for their parents,” he said. “Not [to] play baseball, but go out there and behave like the way they behaved [while getting here]. Tomorrow they will play with pride, I promise you that.”