Harford team rolls to third win Monday at Cal Ripken World Series

Don't look now, but Harford County's host team, the Hickory Hornets, are 3-0 in 2014 Cal Ripken World Series pool play, after an 8-2 win Monday afternoon at the Ripken Experience powered by Under Armour complex in Aberdeen.

Hickory's win came over Midwest Plains champ, Denver, Col., (1-1) at Cal Sr.'s Yard and guaranteed the local boys a shot in Thursday's United States semifinals. That appearance will be the first by any Harford team since the series began in Aberdeen in 2003.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet, again, I believe in these kids," Hickory manager Russell Metz said. "We've played and won tournaments here, we've beaten the best teams, not only in Maryland; Jersey, Delaware, Pa.; I know what those kids can do."

In Monday's game, Hickory got just what it needed, sending nine batters to the plate and scoring five runs in the top of the first inning.

Garrett McIlhenney, who scored a team-high three runs, reached on an error in the leadoff spot. Philip Winfield followed with a walk, as McIlhenney was stealing second and third during the at-bat.

With Colton Knoble batting, Winfield stole second and then he and McIlhenney both scored on Knoble's double to deep right-center field.

Bobby Duffy followed with an RBI single, plating Knoble. Duffy came around to score on a wild pitch. Tyler Leach, who walked, scored the fifth run, when the catcher's throw sailed into left field on an attempted pick off of Duffy at third, with Andrew Rickard stealing second.

Hickory added a single run in the second. McIlhenney lashed a one-out double down the left field line and then scored on Winfield's single.

That same combination led to Hickory's final two runs in the fourth. Ryan Ishak was on base with a one-out single, when McIlhenney grounded sharply to shortstop. Ishak was forced out, but Winfield stepped up and hit RBI triple to the wall in right-center, scoring McIlhenney.

Hunter Wright, who was the starting and winning pitcher, then singled through the right side, driving in Winfield for an 8-0 lead.

Denver also scored its two runs in the fourth, finally getting through to Wright and knocking him from the mound.

Nathan Dinges and Jacob Thompson had singles in the inning, but Dinges was forced out on a John Michalek grounder.

With two away, Fisher Mahoney blooped  a single to right field. The hit scored Michalek and when the bounce was misplayed in right field, Thompson also beat the throw home on a close play.

Wright walked the next batter, his last, and Rickard came on retire Aidan Flores on a groundout.

Hickory threatened in both the fifth and sixth innings, as did Denver, but with no more scoring.

Wright earned the win, lasting three and two-thirds. He allowed five hits, walked one and struck out one.

Lucas Quezada also pitched three and two-thirds. He was charged with all eight runs on eight hits and three walks. Denver committed three errors.

"It's really good because no Harford County team has ever done this before and it's just like an honor to be here and have the accomplishment of making it to the World Series and it just feels really good," Winfield said.

Japan edges Mexico

For the past few years, the Japan-Mexico game has been the marquee matchup of the Cal Ripken World Series. Monday night the two teams did not disappoint.

The annual international pool powers played another tight one at Cal Sr.'s Yard, with Japan eking out a 4-3 victory. Japan improved to 3-0, while Mexico slipped to 1-2.

Mexico held leads of 2-1 and 3-2 after consecutive at bats in the third and fourth innings, but Japan was a run better, scoring single runs in first, third, fourth and fifth innings.

The biggest run came across in the fifth for Japan. Yuki Sakurai led off with a walk. Sakurai stole second and was then sacrificed to third by Shoma Sakashita. Ryusei Okamoto (two hits) then singled on a ground ball to left field, plating Sakurai with the deciding run.

Mexico out hit Japan, 8-5. Fernando Villicana and Roque Salinas (two RBIs) had two hits each.

Okamoto picked up the win, in relief of Sakurai. Both pitched three innings.

Losing pitcher Andres Medina pitched all five innings for Mexico.

Puerto Rico also 3-0

Puerto Rico stayed unbeaten Monday, beating Canada, 13-3, in four innings at Cal Sr.'s Yard. Canada dropped to 0-3.

Canada scored three runs in the top of the first inning, but Puerto Rico answered with six runs in the bottom of the inning and were not done.

The first time series participants, Puerto Rico added three more runs in the third inning and closed the game out with four additional runs in the fourth.

For first time in three games, Puerto Rico did not hit a home run. They did have 11 hits, however, including four for extra bases between Yanluis Ortiz and Luis Miranda. Ortiz hit a pair of doubles, while Miranda hit a double and triple.

Miranda drove in three runs and Ortiz, two. Yamil Munoz also had two hits and Darnell Wilson added two RBIs.

Kalen Glockzin singled in two runs for Canada and Aidan Rose had the other RBI. Matthew Dobberthien had Canada's lone extra-base hit, stroking a double.

Edgar Velazquez pitched three innings for the win, while Glockzin also threw three innings for Canada in the loss.

Idaho edges Connecticut

Pacific Northwest champ Meridian, Idaho, had just four hits, but it matched them with runs in a 4-3 win over New England champ Danbury, Conn., at Nationals Park. Meridian is 1-1 and Danbury is 1-2.

Meridian scored all four of its runs in the bottom of the second inning, erasing Danbury's 2-0 lead. Danbury scored single runs in the first and second innings.

Hayden Cantrill singled in the first two Meridian runs and Isaiah Vega doubled in the last two in that productive second inning.

Luke Shliger singled and scored on a wild pitch for Danbury in the first, while Patrick Iannetta doubled and scored on a wild pitch and balk in the second. Iannetta also scored Danbury's third run in the fourth. He singled and eventually scored on a passed ball.

Iannetta had three hits to lead both teams and Daniel Villalona added two hits for Danbury. Cantrill had two hits for Meridian.

Ryan Franklin pitched four innings, earning the win, while Richard Wekerle pitched one inning in taking the loss.

Korea tops Australia

Republic of Korea dealt Australia its first loss Monday evening, winning 7-1 at Cal Sr.'s Yard. The result left both teams with 2-1 records.

Korea scored two runs in the top of the first, three in the fourth and two more in the fifth. Australia's lone run was scored in the first.

Sangwon Lee led the way with two hits, including a double, and two RBIs. Jimin Kim also had two hits and an RBI for Korea. Wooyeong Shin added a double and RBI.

Zachary Lawrence had Australia's RBI, but Travis Bazzana, Mitchell Schofield and Brendan Bidois had the hits.

Donghyun Chun collected the win, striking out five over four innings. He walked two, allowed two hits and one run.

Ky Jackson took the loss, pitching four and a third innings. He allowed seven hits and seven runs (five earned).

West Raleigh beats Homewood

Southeast and defending United States champion West Raleigh, N.C., moved to 2-0 behind an 12-1 win over Ohio Valley champ Homewood, Ill., at Nationals Park.

West Raleigh scored four runs in each of the first three innings to pull away for the win.

Penn Sealey had three hits and two RBIs to lead West Raleigh, while Nolan McClean (three RBIs) was one of three to have two hits. McClean had the big one, though, belting the game's only home run, a two-run shot, in the second inning.

Colby Gallimore and Zach Miller also had two hits each among West Raleigh's 14.

Jack Hurley had an RBI double, scoring Myles Prado, for Homewood's only run.

Sealey was the winner, pitching three innings and Aidan O'Connor was the loser, pitching into the third.

Maryland, Dominicans win

Maryland champ Prince George's County and the Dominican Republic were early winners Monday, as pool play continued at the Cal Ripken World Series played at the Ripken Experience powered by Under Armour complex in Aberdeen.

Maryland's win came over previously unbeaten Hanford, Cal., the Pacific Southwest champ. Maryland won, 9-2, at Nationals Park. Maryland is 2-0 and Hanford is 2-1.

The winners jumped on Hanford early, scoring four times in the first inning. Maryland scored a single run in inning two and then erupted with four more in its third at bat. Hanford aided the Maryland offense with four errors.

Hanford got on the scoreboard in the fourth. Vince Rangel hit a two-run home run, the lone home run of the contest.

Donavan Frayer led Maryland with three hits, an RBI and two runs scored. Noel Aristy, Jason Mackall (two runs) and Christopher Osario (two runs) each had two hits.

Aristy pitched five innings, striking out 10, for the win. Frayer threw an inning in relief. Mathew Aguirre took the loss, allowing all nine runs, with just three earned.

Dominicans come from behind

Dominican Republic's win was a 7-6, come-from-behind deal over New Zealand on Cal Sr.'s Yard. The results left the Dominicans at 1-2 and New Zealand at 0-3.

New Zealand scored six runs in the top of the second inning and led 6-1, but Dominican Republic scored two in the third, two in the fourth and one in the fifth to knot the game at 6. The winning run came across in the sixth on a single, two walks and an error.

Johan Ferreira led the winners with two hits ad an RBI. Justin Portes drove in two runs without a hit and Jaswel De Los Santos scored two runs.

Jackson Schofield, Maxwell Leuga, Min Jae Kim, Denzal Woolston, Huriwaka Repia and Taichi Nakao had RBIs for New Zealand.

Portes took the win, striking out eight. Kim took the loss.

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