Pearl City Seniors fall in title game
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By Ernie Clark
Special to The Advertiser
By Ernie Clark
BANGOR, Maine — Pearl City's run in the Senior League World Series ended in heartbreaking fashion yesterday, as Latin America champion Falcon, Venezuela, rallied in the late innings for a 4-2 victory in the championship game at Mansfield Stadium.
It marked the second straight year Pearl City's 15- and 16-year-old baseball standouts reached the SLWS final, only to fall short.
Last year, Urbandale, Iowa, defeated the U.S. West champions 7-2 in the title game.
"Some of the kids came back after losing in the final last year thinking we had a good chance to win it all, and this is a big disappointment for them," said Pearl City manager Gary Nakamoto. "But they shouldn't be ashamed of themselves. They should be proud of themselves for getting this far, but this is a tough one to swallow."
Pearl City (5-1 in SLWS play) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
Rorry Nakayama hit a leadoff single to right and Ryne Acosta walked. Both runners advanced on a balk by Venezuela right-hander Osmar Morillo before Nakayama scored on a sacrifice fly by Carlton Tanabe. Acosta scored on Morillo's second balk of the inning.
But Morillo quickly settled down, allowing singles by Bryson Nakamura and Nainoa Tampos the rest of the way to finish with a complete-game three-hitter that included seven strikeouts and three walks.
"After the two balks, I said to Osmar to take it easy, that he could do the job," Venezuela manager Osmar Reyes said through an interpreter. "And Osmar stayed in the game and pitched well."
Venezuela (6-0) got one run back in the bottom of the first on a double by Victor Perozo and an RBI single by Francisco Diaz.
Nakamura held Venezuela scoreless over the next three innings, thanks in part to some strong defense, particularly a throw from rightfielder Jordan Dekneef in the fourth inning that cut down Venezuela's Leonardo Rojas at the plate when he tried to score on a single by Morillo.
But Pearl City was generating very little offense against Morillo's assortment of fastballs and off-speed pitches, leaving a small margin of error for Nakamura and the defense as the late innings approached.
"We didn't hit the ball, and their pitcher did a good job of keeping us off balance," Nakamoto said. "We couldn't hit the outside pitches, and he was getting the calls and we couldn't adjust to the outside fastball."
Venezuela tied the game at 2 on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Rito Garcia in the fifth inning.
In Venezuela's sixth, Marcos Pina hit a leadoff single, and Morillo reached base when his sacrifice bunt was misplayed. Lesme Pena then sacrificed the runners to second and third. Dennys Osteicoechea singled to left to drive home pinch-runner Freddy Galvis with the go-ahead run.
Morillo then scored the game's final run on a fielder's choice grounder by Perozo.
"It was a tight game because Hawai'i is a good team and they played well," said Eduardo Cuba through an interpreter. "But we took advantage of a few mistakes and were able to win."
Nakamura scattered seven hits in a complete-game pitching effort for Pearl City.
The left-hander struck out four and walked two while throwing just 94 pitches.
"It was a pressure game, the guys were working real hard," Nakamoto said. "They wanted to win, but somebody has to lose. That's the hard part."
Venezuela defeated Pearl City, 7-0, yesterday in the third-place game of the Junior League (13- and 14-year-olds) World Series in Taylor, Mich.
El Campo, Texas, which beat Pearl City for the U.S. title, won the World Series championship with a 2-1 victory over Mexico.