Texas hands Waipi'o first loss, 8-0, in Little League
|||'If we win today, we still have a chance'|
|||Series at a glance|
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By Matt Traub
Special to The Advertiser
But every time they hit the ball, they hit it to a player from Fort Worth, Texas. Jansen Rios' single in the third inning was Waipi'o's lone hit, while Fort Worth amassed 13 hits en route to an 8-0 win yesterday in pool play at the Little League World Series for 11- and 12-year-olds.
"There's games that you hit the ball hard and it's right at somebody," Waipi'o manager Clyde Tanabe said. "This is one of those games. We made a lot of good swings, but it went at somebody. I take my hat off to their defense."
The top two teams from each pool advance to the national semifinals, but it's not clear which two teams that will be. Fort Worth is 2-0 while the New England regional champ, Worcester, Mass., is 1-1 after two games. Webb City is 0-2.
Should Fort Worth beat Worcester today, it will clinch one of the berths. Waipi'o would then get the second berth if it beats Webb City.
However, there is a possibility that three teams could finish 2-1, or 1-2. If that occurs, tiebreakers will be used to settle the issue. The first tiebreaker is the total runs scored, divided by the number of innings played defense. The team with the highest average advances. Then, the second berth will be decided by a head-to-head tiebreaker between the remaining two teams.
In either case, Tanabe was uncertain yesterday whether he would start his son, Kurt, in what is regarded as Waipi'o's most important game of the series thus far.
"I'd love to start him, but this is going to be his ninth or 10th game (in the postseason) and I don't know how much he has left in his arm," Tanabe said of Kurt, the winning pitcher in Friday's opener against Worcester. "On the other hand, I don't know how many pitchers we've got left because Kelsey (Outram) broke his knuckle (in Friday's game). I might throw Kurt and see how far he can go, then roll the dice with whoever's available after that."
Mark Nance Special to The Advertiser
Waipi'o's Sanoe Aina dives safely back to first base as Fort Worth's Robert Ratliff fields the throw from center fielder Walker Kelly in the fifth inning. Kelly caught a line drive, then tried to double up Aina.
Mark Nance Special to The Advertiser
Mikey Valdez was the winning pitcher for Fort Worth, striking out three in a complete game. Fort Worth has allowed two hits and no runs in its two games.
Fort Worth scored once in the first inning on Valdez's double that scored Walker Kelly, then added four more runs in the second inning. Jack Huckaby and Chester Hamilton singled, then Jeffrey Vander Hamm walked. Kelly drove in Robby Lebus running for Huckaby and Hamilton with a double, then Valdez singled for two more runs.
Fort Worth added two more runs in the fourth and one in the sixth.
Waipi'o only got three balls out of the infield with three flyouts, two in the first inning. Its best chance at scoring came in the bottom of the sixth with one out. Jones reached on an error, Tony Fernandez was hit in the arm and Yuh walked to load the bases. But Sean Clark grounded to third and Fort Worth turned it into a game-ending double play.
"They shut us down," Clyde Tanabe said. "Their pitcher did a great job and their defense was solid. We couldn't get a ball out of the infield."
YESTERDAY'S GAME SUMMARY
FORT WORTH 140 201 8 13 1
WAIPI'O 000 000 0 1 3
Mikey Valdez and Rivera. Travis Jones, Cory Yuh (2) and Isaac Moises, Jones (2). W Valdez (1-0). L Jones (0-1).
Leading hitters: Fort Worth Walker Kelly 3-4, 3 RBIs; Valdez 3-4, 4 RBIs. Waipi'o Jansen Rios 1-2.