Prince George's County got a big lift in its first two at bats in the 2014 Cal Ripken World Series in Aberdeen, and the Maryland champs rolled from there, beating Southwest champ, Little Rock, Ark., 11-3, at Nationals Park Saturday evening.
Two walks, sandwiched by two strikeouts, set the table for Chase Crosby, who belted a three-run home run to deep left field for all the first inning scoring.
Little Rock answered back with two in the bottom of the first, but Maryland added three more runs in the second inning for a 6-2 lead. Two runs were courtesy of an error, walk and two wild pitches. Donavan Frayer drove in Jason Mackall with a single and the sixth run.
Crosby hit his second home run in the fourth, a two-run shot to center, as part of a four-run rally. Jack Bulger also homered in the inning, a solo line drive to left field. The other run scored on a dropped third strike, allowing Mackall to score from third as the play was made at first.
The Maryland team's last run came across in the sixth, with Mackall scoring his third run of the game on Frayer's double and his third RBI of the contest. Mackall finished 3-for-3.
Robert Bavon had a double and scored two runs for Little Rock, while Evan Stewart had the other hit and run scored.
Brandon Baker pitched five innings for the win, striking out six, walking one and allowing two hits. Bulger threw an inning of relief, striking out three.
Jonathan Ty Barrett pitched two innings in taking the loss. Matthew Gephardt (three innings) and Joey McCracken (one inning) also pitched. Little Rock committed five errors.
Puerto Rico rocks Dominican
Puerto Rico, a first time Cal Ripken World Series participant, made its debut Saturday night and did so in grand fashion.
Puerto Rico rocked Dominican Republic pitching for eight runs over the first two innings, en route to an 11-0, four-inning win, closing out Saturday's round of pool play at Cal Sr.'s Yard in Aberdeen.
The winners had just five hits, but four were for extra bases, including three balls that left the yard. Yan Ortiz hit the first, a long drive over the left field wall, in the first inning. The blast drove in Jorge Barreto, who had doubled in the leadoff spot.
Puerto Rico blew the game open in the second, sending nine men to the plate and scoring six runs. Adriel Mendoza knocked in the first three with a no doubter to center field. Later in the inning, Yediel Rodriguez hit a two-run shot to left. Angel Andrades drove in the other run with an RBI single.
Three more runs came across for Puerto Rico in the third. Two walks and an error produced a run, a groundout by Andrades produced another and a passed ball ended the scoring.
Three pitchers combined to shut out the Dominicans. Rodriguez pitched the first two innings for the win, striking out three. Luis Alvarez and Edgar Velazquez pitched an inning each.
Dominican starter Justin Portes suffered the loss. Jaswel De Los Santos and Luis Aybar also pitched in the loss. Dominican pitchers walked eight batters.
Portes had Dominican Republic's lone hit, a third inning single.
California edges Connecticut
Pacific Southwest champion Hanford, Cal., edged New England champ, Danbury, Conn., 3-2, at Cal Sr.'s Yard.
The winners broke open a scoreless game in the top of the fourth by way of the long ball. Vince Rangel broke the deadlock, ripping a pitch over the right-center field wall, plating Gavin Gamble ahead of him.
Four pitches later, Mathew Aguirre drilled a line drive just over the left field wall, putting Hanford ahead, 3-0. Both blasts came with two away.
Danbury got a run back in the bottom of the fourth. Zach Demko singled and later scored on Patrick Iannetta's groundout.
The score remained 3-1 into the final half of the sixth. Danbury's Cody Waterbury led off with a single. An out later, but with Waterbury stealing second in the process, Demko hit a grounder to shortstop. Demko ran out an infield single and Waterbury reached third.
An errant throw, trying to pick off Waterbury at third, sailed into the stands. Waterbury was awarded home on the play and Demko was placed at third with one out.
Javon Hernandez then grounded to third. Hanford third baseman Trace Pires gloved the high bouncer. Pires threw home to catcher Gavin Vangronigen to nail the sliding Demko, thus saving the 3-2 lead for the moment.
Pires said he wasn't nervous.
"Not really, we had a really good pitcher in there, [Vince Rangel], and I knew that if I made an error, he was going to come through and strike the other guy out," Pires said.
Justin Solomine then grounded to Pires as well. Pires made the accurate throw to first for the final out.
Aguirre tossed four innings for the win, striking out six. Rangel pitched the final two innings in relief.
Solomine pitched a complete game for Danbury, allowing just four hits. Solomine struck out 10.
Australia upsets Mexico
In the biggest upset since the Cal Ripken World Series moved to Aberdeen 12 tournaments ago, Australia knocked of Mexico, 6-2, Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park.
Aussie pitcher Michael Tovey (five strikeouts) shut the Mexico hitters down on four hits and two runs (one earned), while his teammates scored in three different innings, highlighted by a three-run, first inning rally. Australia added a single run in the second and two more in the fourth.
The three runs in the first were aided by shaky Mexico pitching. Two walks, a hit batter, passed ball and an error on a fly ball to the outfield led to the runs.
Ethan Stacy had the lone Australia extra-base hit, a double, while Zachary Lawrence had the only RBI on a groundout.
Mexico scratched out its first run in the fourth and added another in the bottom of the sixth.
Roque Salinas was the only Mexico hitter with two hits, while Alex Ballesteros single and scored and Fernando Villicana doubled in a run.
Luis Castellanos took the loss, tossing three innings. Jerry Cuevas also pitched three innings. Both pitchers struck out five.
Colorado beats Illinois
Fueled by a seven-run, second inning outburst, Midwest Plains champ, Denver, Col., defeated Ohio Valley champ, Homewood, Ill., 12-4, Saturday at Cal Sr.'s Yard.
Blake Beauchene had the big hit, blasting a three-run shot to cap the seven-run inning. Nathan Dinges added three hits and a team-high four RBIs. John Michalek also had three hits, while Fisher Mahoney doubled in a pair of runs.
Denver added two runs in the fifth and three additional runs in the sixth.
Homewood scored twice in the fourth inning and added single runs in the second, fifth and sixth innings.
Aidan O'Connor and Jorge Santos each drove in two runs and Jack Hurley had two hits.
Jacob Thompson pitched four innings for the win, walking six and striking out six. He also allowed five hits and three earned runs. Mahoney pitched the final two innings, walking three, striking out one and allowing three hits and two earned runs.
Tyler Schlaffer was dealt the loss, lasting three innings. He was tagged with the seven runs, all earned, on five hits and three walks. He struck out four. Cecil Archbold, III and Kevin Reid also pitched.
Korea, Japan sharp
Saturday's early games at the 2014 Cal Ripken World Series in Aberdeen were both quick contests among International teams.
The game at Cal Sr.'s Yard between Republic of Korea and New Zealand yielded the series' first no-hitter in Korea's, 10-0, four-inning win. At Nationals Park, three time defending series champion Japan was equally impressive in its 11-1 win over Canada.
Three Korea pitchers combined for the no-hitter. Donghyun Chun pitched two innings, while Jimin Kim and Wooyeong Shin pitched an inning each. The three combined for four strikeouts and no walks.
Korea batters pounded out 10 hits and New Zealand, making its CRWS debut, committed four errors. Korea scored seven runs in its first at bat and three more in inning number two. Just two of the 10 were earned.
Min Park hit two doubles and Sangwon Lee hit one, as did Junhyung Park.
Maxwell Leuga was the losing pitcher, allowing five hits and seven runs (two earned) over one inning. Marcus Feagaiga and Huriwaka Repia also pitched in the loss.
Japan scored multiple runs in all three at bats in its win over Canada. Hiroki Yoshihara and Yusuke Kawanaka led the winners. Both had two hits, two runs scored and three RBIs. Japan had eight hits.
Kawanaka was the winning pitcher, allowing a run on three hits over three innings. He struck out three. Ryusei Okamoto tossed one inning of relief, allowing a pair of hits, but striking out the side.
Matthew Dobberthien had two (double) of Canada's five hits and the lone RBI. Melvin Lorenzo also hit a double and scored Canada's only run in the first inning.
Sean Graves was the losing pitcher, allowing six hits and nine runs (six earned) over two innings.