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Archive for the ‘Little League World Series’ Category

A world of series

Posted by Joshua Kummins on August 30, 2010

by Teddy Cahill, Mark Rogoff, Mark Price and Allie Weinberger; Little League International

Big or Little, Junior or Senior, Little League International has a World Series for all. As the 2010 Little League Baseball World Series comes to an end Sunday in South Williamsport, Pa., we take a look back on all eight World Series tournaments in 2010.

You can’t see every game on ESPN. Most of them won’t have major leaguers, Hall of Famers, all-star broadcasters or a media contingent of hundreds. But there is one thing the other eight World Series tournaments have in common with the 2010 Little League Baseball World Series – passion for the greatest game in the land.

And while the World Series you are used to seeing in August winds down Sunday to close out the 2010 Little League season, World Series have been going on all month long.

Wait, you didn’t know there were eight other World Series tournaments? Well, read on and find out about all the other opportunities Little League International has to offer.

Silence of the Lamb

LITTLE LEAGUE SOFTBALL – Portland, Oregon

One of just two World Series to feature a pair of U.S. teams in the final, the Little League Softball World Series enjoyed one of its best years yet in 2010. Warner Robins American Little League (Ga.) defeated Burbank Little League (Calif.), 8-6, in the championship game of the Portland, Ore., tournament to win the Series title.

The 10-team tournament for 12- and 13-year-old girls features two pools of both international and domestic teams, allowing for the all-American title bout.

“It was a competitive game,” said Little League representative Sara Thompson. “The West never gave up, even though they were behind. Both teams put in a great effort. And after it was all over with, the coaches shook hands and it was a good show of sportsmanship because it was a tough game.”

Warner Robins went a perfect 10-0 through regional play and World Series action, and pitcher Avery Lamb pitched in seven of those contests, compiling four complete games. But it was teammate Hayley Tierce who earned the six-hit complete-game victory in the final.

But one of the other top tournament moments came before the games even started. Famed UCLA softball coach Sue Enquist visited Portland to talk to all the Series participants – players, coaches and umpires alike. After talking to the players in a separate meeting of their own, Enquist then met with the coaches, managers and umpires to talk about the struggles and pressures of coaching at this level under such a bright spotlight.

She also stopped in at the opening ceremonies to start the tournament off.

“Overall, the Series went pretty well,” said Thompson. “We made a few changes this year, the biggest of which was that we had the kids stay in hotels instead of with host families. The teams really enjoyed being able to interact with each other and with other teams at breakfast and after games, being able to go to a pool party or a pizza party together. It was easier for them to make friends this way.”

International Dominance

JUNIOR LEAGUE BASEBALL – Taylor, Michigan

The Junior League Baseball World Series in Taylor, Mich., was held from August 15-21, and the Asia-Pacific champs from Taipei City, Chinese Taipei took home the title with a 9-1 win over Tyler, Texas. The Junior League World Series features the best all-star teams of 13- and 14-year-old Little Leaguers.

Chinese Taipei went 4-0 in international pool play and then beat Guatemala City, Guatemala 10-3 in the International Championship. Chinese Taipei (6-0) was the only unbeaten team among the 10 in the World Series. The Asia-Pacific All-Stars outscored their opponents, 57-11.

Tzu Wei Lin tossed a complete game in the title bout against Texas, allowing just three hits while striking out 10. He also helped himself at the plate with three RBI.

“Chinese Taipei is probably the most dominant team we’ve ever had [in 30 years],” said tournament director Greg Bzura.
On the United States side, Tyler, Texas, and El Monte, Calif., finished pool play with 3-1 records. Texas then defeated California 8-2 in the U.S. Championship.

The Texas squad, representing the Southwest region, featured Patrick Mahomes, son of former major leaguer Pat Mahomes. In Texas’ 7-2 pool-play win over Mechanicsville, Va., Patrick homered and had a two-run single.

Not to go unnoticed was Ukraine’s second-ever visit to the Junior League World Series. The Kirovograd Center/Rivne Little League All-Stars defeated a team from Canada 4-3 in their first game before suffering a 13-0 loss to Chinese Taipei, a 3-0 setback to Mexico and a 3-2 loss to Mexico.

Ukraine went 0-4 in the 2007 Series, their first appearance.

“It was like they won the world championship,” Bzura said of Ukraine’s win over Canada. “It wasn’t ‘What are we doing here?’ They were here to play. They won their first game, so it made their entire week.”

“They were competitive,” he continued. “It was a very, very competitive team.”

Walk off this way

JUNIOR LEAGUE SOFTBALL – Kirkland, Washington

ASOFEM Little League from Maunabo, Puerto Rico took a contested 4-3 victory over West Tampa Little League to repeat as the 2010 Junior League Softball World Series Champions in Kirkland, Wash.

The Latin American champs scored in the bottom of the seventh to edge the U.S. Champs, who had just tied the game up in the top half of the final frame. Michelle Rivera was the winning pitcher for Puerto Rico.

“The championship was an excellent game all the way,” said tournament director John Chadwick. “Bottom of the seventh – couldn’t ask for much better.”

Guam made an appearance at the Junior League Softball World Series for the first time ever, representing the Asia-Pacific region. And while they were the only new country to visit Kirkland in 2010, they were far from the only first-time league.

“Almost all the teams were new,” said Chadwick. “Italy, this was the country’s second year, but a different league [came]. From the U.S., all the leagues were different except the Southeast [and the] East.”

The Junior League Softball World Series, also a 10-team field of mixed pools, was held from August 15-21.

Root, root, root for the home team…

SENIOR LEAGUE BASEBALL – Bangor, Maine

The Senior League Baseball World Series celebrated its 50th anniversary this year in Bangor, Maine, where the event has been held since 2002.

Aruba South Little League of San Nicolas, Aruba, took the 2010 title after losing in the semifinals last year, defeating host team Bangor East/West Little League, 8-1.

Aruba’s Shawn Duinkerk tossed a complete-game victory for the Latin America representatives, allowing five hits and striking out five over seven innings. He also attracted the attention of several major league scouts who were in attendance, according to tournament director Mike Brooker.

The tournament was another success for Bangor, which enjoyed seeing its own squad in the title game for the first time.
“The tournament went very well this year, no hitches at all, and we had great weather,” said Brooker. “Having the host team advance further than they ever have produced a lot of excitement in the town.”

Indeed, about 3,000 fans attended the host’s semifinal match, and close to 4,500 came out for the championship game, turnouts that, according to Brooker, were significantly higher than usual.

Made in America

SENIOR LEAGUE SOFTBALL – Lower Sussex, Delaware

Northside Suburban Little League of San Antonio, Texas, won the 2010 Senior League Softball World Series, topping East region champions Haverstraw, N.Y., 3-1, in the championship game. It was the second of just two all-American title games among the eight divisions.

The two-run victory was more-or-less an expected result for the Southwest region representatives, who had won by two or less in three contests and eight or more in its other three.

Tournament director Martin Donovan was pleased with how the Series went off in its seventh year held in Lower Sussex, Del.
“We had a good turnout and everything went fine,” said Donovan. “We had a good bunch of girls this year, though you could say that about every year here. There were some close ballgames. It was very competitive.”

The KMC American Little League from Germany’s Ramstein Air Base sent its first of two teams to a World Series in 2010 when the Senior League team went to Lower Sussex as the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) representative. (The league sent a team out of its Little League division to Little League Baseball World Series in South Williamsport, Pa., as well.)

The Big Easley

BIG LEAGUE BASEBALL – Easley, South Carolina

Easley, S.C., has hosted 10 Big League Baseball World Series and tournament director Jon Humphries called this year’s event one of the best he’s seen.

The Big League World Series begins with a home run derby and concert each year. This year, the band Boys Like Girls headlined the event, drawing about 7,000 people. Puerto Rico ultimately won the championship, defeating Thousand Oaks, Calif., 3-2.
“It was excellent baseball,” Humphries said. “We had the two best teams playing that day.”

The Big League World Series included a host team (District 1), but there was also a second team from South Carolina, a District 7 squad that won its way to Easley as the Southeast regional champs. The two local teams helped increase community involvement in the tournament, which had a title sponsor for the first time in Baptist Easley Hospital.

“The community embraced it a little more,” Humphries said. “They had a great time out there.”

…if they don’t win it’s a shame

BIG LEAGUE SOFTBALL – Kalamazoo, Michigan

Though an international team reached the Big League Softball World Series Championship Game for the third year in a row, the tournament had a local feel.

Grand Rapids, Mich., the Central region champions, defeated the Philippines 14-4 to win the World Series in their own home state. Tournament director Bud Vanderberg said there were between 4,000 and 5,000 fans in Kalamazoo at the championship game, which was played in primetime on ESPN2 for the second-consecutive year.

“That really brings the crowd out,” Vanderberg said.

The TV commitment expires after this year, but Vanderberg is hopeful ESPN will return in the years to come.
This was the 30th year Kalamazoo hosted a World Series.

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Japan breaks American dynasty with disciplined approach

Posted by Joshua Kummins on August 29, 2010

by Teddy Cahill, Little League International

More than 20,000 people came out to watch the final day of the Series, watching Japan win the title. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

The Little League Baseball World Series banner has probably never been walked more stately around Howard J. Lamade Stadium. But it’s also hard to imagine a more disciplined team of 12-year olds than the 2010 Japanese champions.

The team that never walks on the practice field, lines up its extra equipment impeccably along the fence and hardly ever makes a mistake in the field showed it was the best in the world. Japan defeated Waipahu, Hawaii, 4-1 in front of 29,812 fans on Sunday afternoon.

It was just the way Manager Shingo Ariyasu wanted it. He finally got the World Series championship that had eluded him in 2008, when Japan had lost to Mexico in the International finals.

This year, with a team he regarded as better, he could bring the banner home.

“No slight to the 2008 kids, but, I’ve said it before: these 2010 kids are very bright,” Ariyasu said.

Japan won the title its way, becoming the first International champions since 2004 and the first from Japan since 2003. They did it with pitching and defense, with aggressiveness and timely hitting, with confidence and grace.

More than anything, however, Japan won Sunday with discipline. It made Hawaii pay for its walks and wild pitches, and avoided being hurt by its own two errors.

“I told them last night you cannot give [Japan] a free ride,” Hawaii manager Brian Yoshii said. “They’re going to cause havoc on the bases. You have to make them earn the bases.”

Starting pitcher Cody Maltezo issued three walks in 5 2/3 innings, a few too many for Yoshii’s taste. He also threw five wild pitches, including one that allowed Masaya Ishii to score the game’s first run in the second inning.

Maltezo was never supposed to be pitching in such a meaningful game for Hawaii, however. Yoshii said the left-hander was probably his No. 6 pitcher, forced into action on the biggest stage because of Hawaii’s difficult run through the losers’ bracket. The American champions had to play five days in a row.

“He pitched a great game,” Yoshii said. “I believe in all these kids. I know when their number is called they won’t give up on their teammates.”

Japan also received a boost from an unlikely source Sunday. Konan Tomori, who is nicknamed Mary by his teammates because of his lack of mental fortitude, drove in Japan’s second run with a fourth-inning single. He later added a two-run home run in the sixth inning to give Japan all the insurance runs it needed.

Tomori didn’t even start the game, coming in as a pinch hitter in the fourth. Ariyasu said Tomori had been taking good swings in the batting cage, but it will take a little more time before he sheds the nickname.

“One more year,” Ariyasu said with a laugh.

Tomori finished the game 2-for-2 with three RBI. But he wasn’t completely happy with his game.

“There were good and bad parts,” he said. “But the big picture is the team won, so I am happy.”

Some observers might have been hard pressed to find signs of joy from Japan after the final out settled into right fielder Teruma Nagata’s glove. Perhaps it was because many of the players couldn’t grasp what the moment meant, something they were still struggling with during the postgame press conference.

“I was so happy, I wasn’t thinking about anything,” said Ichiro Ogasawara, who earned his third save of the tournament with three scoreless innings.

Hawaii, meanwhile, was dejected. Yoshii said he was very proud of his team and was sure they would bounce back quickly. All that is left for the American champions is a long plane ride back to Hawaii, which Yoshii is ready for.

“I’m ready to go back home,” he said. “But I love it here. There’s no losers that come here.”

Japan faces an even longer flight home, but one that is sure to be joyous.  Before coming to Williamsport, Japanese champions played a friendly rival team also from Tokyo. After the game, they jokingly told Edogawa Minami All-Stars not to come home without the championship.

The Japanese champions never collapsed under the weight of a nation hungry for a championship, which came as no surprise to their manager.

“They don’t give up even when they’re down,” Ariyasu said. “They’re very tough.”

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Japan, Hawaii advance to Sunday’s LLWS title game

Posted by Joshua Kummins on August 29, 2010

by Teddy Cahill, Allie Weinberger and Mark Price; Little League International

Before you get upset about the strike that wasn’t called or the ball that wasn’t that outside, think about Peyton and Nolan Knoebel.

Peyton, 4, and Nolan, 9, of Charlestown, Ind., weren’t here all day Saturday to see Chinese Taipei, Japan, Hawaii or Texas. They weren’t here for the home runs, the diving catches, Dugout or the Chicken Dance between innings. They, along with mother Susan, were here for something completely different.

The Knoebel brothers were here to watch arguably the most unpopular person among the nearly 29,000 in attendance in South Williamsport – someone who sure gets a lot of grief just to be a volunteer – and to hold up a very desperate sounding sign.

“Please don’t kill the umpire… He’s our DADDY!”

Pasted behind home plate seven or eight rows up the Howard J. Lamade Stadium stands, Peyton and Nolan – dressed just like their dad – watch and wait, tirelessly flailing their two-foot by three-foot sign.

“We made it at Sears,” said Peyton. (“Staples,” Susan quickly corrected.)

All three were here to support father Jeffrey as he called the balls and strikes for Hawaii’s 10-0 mercy-rule win over Texas in the U.S. Championship Game, an appointment that’s a testament to his skill in its own right.

Umpires during the final weekend of play are chosen based on their performances throughout the first eight days of the tournament, making Jeffrey Knoebel one of the Series’ best umps in 2010.

But how do his toughest critics think he’s doing?

“Good,” the boys said meekly, smiling.

So please, next time you feel the urge to yell, scream, spit or cover home plate with dirt, think about Peyton and Nolan and remember, umpires are people, too.

Family connection

One of the perks the Waipahu, Hawaii, players received after winning the United States championship at the Little League Baseball World Series was getting their pictures taken with ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine.

The opportunity had a little more meaning to first baseman Ty DeSa than the rest of his teammates. Richard DeSa, Ty’s grandfather, played for the Chiba Lotte Marines, the same team Valentine managed in 1995 and 2004-09.

Richard DeSa didn’t play for Valentine, but Ty’s father Rich, said he was excited to show him the picture.

“I’m sure he’ll be really proud,” Rich said.

Though Valentine called the connection “remote,” he said he likes to see baseball lovers like the DeSa family.

Valentine has had high praise for Ty throughout the tournament. Ty is batting .333 with two home runs in the World Series.

“I love watching young Ty play,” Valentine said. “He has a very good swing and has saved about eight runs in the field.”

Parent’s perspective

Rich DeSa is expecting a close World Series Championship Game between Japan and Hawaii. Both teams are fundamentally sound and have relied on pitching to reach this stage of the tournament.

“They’re sort of like us as a team,” DeSa said. “They don’t make many mistakes.”

Japan has committed only two errors in the World Series, while Hawaii has just three.

But the difference could come down to pitching, where Japan should hold an advantage. Sunday will be the fifth consecutive day Hawaii has played, while Japan had three days off before defeating Chinese Taipei 3-2 in the International finals Saturday.

Rain and the change to a double elimination tournament this year are the reasons for Hawaii’s schedule. DeSa said he hopes Little League reviews the format after the tournament, but acknowledged the West champions put themselves in a tough spot by falling into the losers’ bracket last weekend.

“It’s a tough format,” DeSa said. “Hopefully it doesn’t come into effect tomorrow.”

Return visit

Some members of last year’s Little League Baseball World Series champions form Chula Vista, Calif., returned to Williamsport this weekend, including Luke Ramirez and Kiko Garcia.

California defeated Chinese Taipei 6-3 in the championship game last year. Garcia was the winning pitcher in the championship game, throwing 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief and going 2-for-4 at the plate.

The teammates arrived Friday and were taking the action in Saturday. Garcia said they wanted to see the World Series like their parents saw it last year.

The players have watched the games on TV as well. Garcia noted how emotional the games seemed.

“I was surprised how competitive they can get,” he said. “It was fun watching the games.”

Garcia has watched this year’s West Region champions from Waipahu, Hawaii. He was impressed by Hawaii, which defeated Pearland, Texas, 10-0 to reach Sunday’s championship game.

“They have a pretty good chance to win,” Garcia said. “It was hard to beat Georgia twice.”

Return, part II

Donny White and some of his teammates from the 1954 Hampton, Va., team that played in the Little League Baseball World Series participated in the pregame ceremonies before the US finals.

White, who is now athletic director at Virginia Military Institute, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. White was a three-time All-Southern Conference shortstop at VMI and was also a football co-captain.

He also served in the Vietnam War, where he was decorated with the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Air Medal with four oak clusters.

Howdy!

The Pearland, Texas, fans have been loud and proud the entire week, but they had some extra help for Saturday’s United States Championship Game.

Friendswood, Texas, participated in the Little League Challenger game Saturday morning at Volunteer Stadium against Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Friendswood neighbors Pearland just south of Houston (both are suburbs). Though the two teams didn’t plan to join each other in South Williamsport, Friendswood was happy to be at Lamade Stadium to cheer on their friends from the Lone Star State.

Each year, the Challenger game features two different Little Leagues from around the country. For more on the Challenger program, read Sunday’s “Off the Beaten Path” feature.

Home, sweet home

In Sunday’s World Series championship game, Hawaii won the coin flip and chose to be the home team against Japan. In the consolation game, Texas will host Chinese Taipei.

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How ’bout them apples? Middle-of-the-lineup trio powers Washington past Connecticut 9-5 in Pool B elimination game

Posted by Joshua Kummins on August 25, 2010

by Mark Price, Little League International

The Jackson 5 said it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. For Auburn, Wash., on Tuesday night at the Little League World Series, it was as easy as 3, 4, 5.

Washington’s 3-4-5 hitters—Isaiah Hatch, Dillon O’Grady, and Casey Manning—went a combined 11-for-12 with two doubles, two homers and eight RBI. That was all the All-Stars from Auburn, Wash., would need to defeat Fairfield, Conn., 9-5 in a Pool B elimination game Tuesday at Howard J. Lamade Stadium. Washington (2-1) takes on the undefeated Southwest region champs from Pearland, Texas Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Lamade Stadium.

“[They were] extremely good hitters,” said New England Manager Chris Daley. “The bats won tonight.”

Hatch, O’Grady, and Manning each singled with two outs in the top of the first to give Washington the early 2-0 lead.

They would strike again in the top of the third, when Hatch and Manning both doubled as part of a twp-run rally to push the Washington lead to 4-0.

Nick Nardone retaliated for Connecticut, sending a Hudson Byorick offering well up the left-center field berm to put the score back to 4-3.

Washington’s triumvirate would respond in the top of the fifth, as Manning hit a two-run blast to give Washington a 6-3 lead.

The New England region champs scored twice in the bottom of the fifth, but Washington pushed the game out of reach with three runs in the top of the sixth, highlighted by Hatch’s two-run homer to center. That put the score at 9-5, where it would stand until the game ended.

Hatch made a name for himself defensively as well, starting three double plays from shortstop and striking out three of five batters he faced in 1 1/3 innings on the mound.

“That’s by far my best game,” Hatch said.

The New England representatives are officially out of championship contention.

“I’m very proud of them,” said Daley. “It was just a great summer and a magical season.”
“It was the experience of a lifetime for [the coaches] and the kids,” he added. “Obviously [we’re] a little disappointed now…but I think looking back on it tomorrow morning, it’s going to be all smiles.”

Washington moves on to face a Texas squad that has scored 24 runs in two games at the World Series and has a full stable of arms waiting for Thursday’s showdown. The Washington squad knows what they are up against but is up for the challenge.

“They’re a tough team defensively and offensively,” said Northwest Manager Kai Nahaku. “But that’s the way it should be here.”

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Pearland (TX) defeats Connecticut in LLWS

Posted by Joshua Kummins on August 23, 2010

by Tom Fox, Pearland Chronicle

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — This time, there would be no late-inning comeback. Pearland’s offense made sure of that.

The boys were firing all on cylinders as every starter got on base once, and had six hits go for extra bases as Pearland White Little League opened up a 12-0 lead and cruised past New England champ Connecticut, 14-1, in four innings Sunday night at Lamade Stadium.

Pearland has the day off Monday, and will face the winner of the Connecticut-Washington game on Tuesday. That team would need to beat the Southwest champ twice to move into Saturday’s American final.

In the locals’ first game in South Williamsport, Pearland jumped out to an 8-0 lead over Minnesota Friday, only to watch the Midwest champs rally in the sixth before Texas hung on, 10-8.

“They came out to hit, so we are pretty pleased with that,” Pearland manager Mike Orlando said. “Everyone says that hitting is contagious, and it really is with this team.”

After scoring 10 runs on Saturday in a win over Minnesota, Pearland continued their hot-hitting streak.

Texas picked up a total of 13 hits with Beau Orlando, Blake Toler, Jake Orlando and Pryce Beshoory each putting two in play.

Mason Van Noort recorded his second victory of the series, throwing two innings of two-hit ball with four strikeouts. Because he didn’t cross over the 35-pitch mark, he’s again eligible to start Tuesday’s game.

The hottest stick in the LLWS belongs to Pearland catcher Jake Orlando, who was 2-for-2 with a double, single and walk. He has reached base in all seven of his plate appearances.

“It’s pretty cool to see that, “Jake Orlando said. “I just want to help my team out and help us win ballgames.”

In fact, Pearland didnt waste any time. Beau Orlando jumped on the second pitch he saw, crushing it over the center-field fence.

“I like being first,” Beau Orlando said. “I’ve heard from my teammates that it does relax them and calm everyone down when I start off with a hit. I just want to be a leader out there, and do whatever it takes to help out the team.”

It was a sign of things to come.

Pearland busted it wide open in the second, scoring seven runs thanks to a two-run double by Jorge Gutierrez, and RBI hits from Beau Orlando, Hunter Smith and Beshoory.

Pearland forced the game into the mercy-rule one frame later, scoring runs on Van Noorts single to center, Caleb Maleys double back up the middle, and a wild pitch.

“We hit the ball hard. That’s all you can ask for,” Mike Orlando said. “If it doesn’t go into someone’s glove, we are going to score some runs. Right now, were just going to keep working on our weaknesses and get better.”

Connecticut, represented by Fairfield American Little League, is starting to run into some pitching issues. The team didn’t have the services of ace Nick Nardone, who threw his 85-pitch limit on Friday, and the rest of Chris Daleys rotation couldnt hold Pearlands high-octane offense in check.

Pearland chased starter Eddie Magi after just 1 1-3 innings, and hammered around Fairfields relief pitchers for eight runs on 10 hits six of those earned.

Manager Mike Orlando, for the second straight game, had the luxury of managing his pitching rotation. He kept Van Noort, Jaron Roblyer and Beau Orlando all under the regulations to have them eligible Tuesday

Tom Ryan, Connor Daley and Nardone each had doubles for Fairfield, which plays Auburn, Wash. monday. In the first game of the Little League World Series, Jack Quinn had the game-winning two-run double late to snap a 1-all tie and defeat Auburn, 3-1.

“We’ve seen them once before, and I think we have some confidence because we were able to beat them,” Chris Daley said. “It’s going to be an exciting game, and well be ready.”

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Connecticut off to strong start in LLWS

Posted by Joshua Kummins on August 21, 2010

by Eric Montgomery, Minuteman News Center

WILLIAMSPORT, PA – Jack Quinn doubled to center field in the bottom half of the fifth inning to score a pair of runs as Fairfield American went on to win the opening contest of the 64th Annual Little League World Series at Volunteer Stadium on Friday. Quinn scored Chris Howell and Nick Nardone on a 3-2 pitch.“It was a fast ball down the middle,” Quinn said. “They coudln’t walk me.Now known to the world as New England, Fairfield will face Pearlland, Tx. at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Nardone, Fairfield’s ace, was brilliant once again, striking out 10, walking none and scattering six hits against Aubrun, Wash. Eddie Magi came on for the last out like he did to save the previous games against Rhode Island in the regionals.

Outstanding pitching and web gem plays marked the 3-1 victory. Northwest’s only run came on a Robbie Wilson single which scored Casey Manning in the fourth. Auburn stranded eight runners and there were only two extra base hits in the game.

“The defense was lights out,” Fairfield coach Chris Daley said. “There were on pass balls. We know we can throw the curve and know we won’t have a pass ball. I thought that was going to decide the game.”

Nardone’s bounced some of his off-speed pitches which had Northwest swinging most every time. “I did throw a lot (curves),” he said. “It’s my strikeout pitch. I wasn’t hanging them. When I throw them low, I get a lot of ground balls.”

Catcher Connor Daley calls the pitches and the two have been a battery for three to five years which came in handy as Aubrun had runners on second and third in the with no outs.

Little Nate Klein, who sports the best smile on the field especially when he comes up with outstanding grabs at third, led the New England offense, going 2-for-3 and scored the first run of the event.

Fairfield (21-1) never trailed despite being out hit 6-5.

The local boys enjoyed a parade in downtown Williamsport on Thursday night, where they were the first of 16 teams on the route. They were also the first team in the opening ceremonies before the game. The boys have been getting to know players from all over the world on the “campus.

“We have a pool and a rec room near our dorm,” Nardone said. “But to see the games we have to walk a long way.”

Kline is making new friends from far away.

“It’s pretty cool because we get to hang out with kids from other teams,” Kline said. “We play games with kids from Japan – that’s pretty cool.”

DAY 1
New England 3, Northwest 1
Southwest 10, Midwest 8
Caribbean 11, Europe 8
Japan 4, Mexico 2

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Fairfield American set for 2010 Little League World Series

Posted by Joshua Kummins on August 20, 2010

Fairfield (CT) American Little League is set to represent New England in the 2010 Little League World Series, which begins on Friday afternoon, in Williamsport, PA. They will face the Northwest champions from Auburn, WA in the opening game of the tournament and play in Pool B.

The Nutmeggers defeated Cumberland (RI) National, 1-0, to capture the New England championship last Saturday. The Connecticut champs have lost just one game on their road to the Little League World Series, a 2-0 shutout against Rhode Island on August 6.

All the action in the 2010 LLWS can be seen live on ESPN3.com and either ESPN or ESPN2 through the World Championship on August 29 (ABC). Click the link to visit LittleLeague.org for pool play standings and schedule.

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