- In one of the all-time classic pitching performances seen at the Cal Ripken World Series, the Dominican Republic's Leudy Santana struck out 14 batters en route to no-hitter in a 1-0 victory over Mexico in Friday's International semifinal match-up at Cal Sr.'s Yard.
As the series moves into its division championship round Saturday, Dominican Republic will face Japan, a 10-1 winner over Korea Friday, for the tournament's international championship. That game will start at 11 a.m. at Cal Sr.'s yard.
The U.S. championship game will follow at 2 p.m. pitting Oahu, Hawaii, against Lexington, Ky., also at Cal Sr.'s Yard. Hawaii defeated Clifton Park, N.Y., 9-1, in another Friday semifinal, while earlier in the day, Lexington topped Maryland's Charles County team, 11-5.
The international and U.S. champions will meet Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Cal Sr.'s Yard for the 2011 Cal Ripken World Series championship.
Dominicana wins pitching masterpiece
Friday's performance was validation for Santana, who struck out 16 hitters in the Dominican team's earlier pool play contest with Mexico Monday, but had to swallow a loss when the reigning champs eked out four runs on three hits in a 4-0 victory.
As in the earlier contest between the two teams, Gerardo Duarte was on the mound for Mexico Friday, and he very nearly matched his Dominican counterpart's performance, allowing just two hits, striking out eight and issuing two walks.
The game's only run was scored in the top half of the third, and it probably would not have occurred were it not for a pair of costly mishaps by Mexico.
Dominican Republic's Alejandro Guerrero led off the frame by hitting a bouncer to the left side of the infield. Mexico's third basemen Luis Maldonado juggled the ball and then sent his throw into the stands, allowing Guerrero to reach second.
After an attempted sacrifice bunt was popped up to Duarte, Santana moved his teammate over to third with a groundout to first base.
With Gilberto Celestino at the plate, Duarte got a swinging third strike that would have ended the inning, but the high fastball went sailing past the Mexico catcher all the way to the backstop, allowing Guerrero to scamper home for what would be the winning run.
Santana's most challenging inning turned out to be the final one, in which Mexico got a runner past first base for the first time all day.
After striking out the first two hitters, Santana walked the third hitter of the inning, Ernesto Granadas, on four straight pitches. After Granadas stole second, Santana ran the count full on Mexico's Martin Madrid, but then ended the game by blowing a fastball past the opposing hitter.
Over six innings, Santana issued just two walks.
Dominican Republic's win ended the tournament for Mexico's defending champions.
Maryland squad eliminated
In Friday's first American semifinal match-up at the Cal Ripken World Series, the Ohio Valley squad from Lexington, Ky., topped the Maryland team from Charles County, 11-5, at Cal Sr.'s Yard.
In its first at-bat, the Charles County squad exploded for four tallies. Brant Butler led off the inning with a walk, then promptly scored on Ryan Oglesby's double to the right field wall.
After advancing to third in a groundout, Oglesby motored home for his team's second run on Davis Larson's base hit up the middle.
Larson moved to second when Brian Hennessey singled, then made the lead 3-0, by scoring from second when Nathaniel Stewart's bouncer to the second baseman was misplayed. On third after the error, Hennessey made it home on Jake Hanks' RBI groundout to third.