Tournament hosts, the Hickory Hornets from Harford County, won their second straight game in 2014 Cal Ripken World Series play Sunday, beating Ohio Valley champ, Homewood, Ill., 8-1, on Cal Sr.'s Yard at the Ripken Experience powered by Under Armour complex in Aberdeen.
Hickory's two wins in pool play are at least a tie for most in championship play by Harford entrant, and no host team in the 11 previous tournaments in Aberdeen won its first two games. The loss dropped Homewood to 0-2.
Hickory got off to a quick start with leadoff hitter Garrett McIlhenney hitting a line drove double to left field. McIlhenney stole third base two pitches into the next at-bat and scored on an errant catcher's throw.
Hickory added a pair of runs in the third. Phillip Winfield tripled in both with a hard ground ball to left field.
Hickory saved the best for last, busting the game open with a five-run outburst in the bottom of the fifth inning.
McIlhenney started the rally, hitting a one-out, solo home run over the right field wall. Bobby Duffy added a two-RBI single and Andrew Rickard doubled in a run. The other run scored on a wild pitch.
Hickory starting and winning pitcher Tyler Schimming shut Homewood out on four hits over four innings. Schimming walked none and struck out one.
Reliever Tyler Leach was touched for five hits in two innings of work, but allowed just a single run in the sixth inning.
Tyler Schlaffer doubled in Cecil Archbold III with Homewood's lone run.
Anthony Caldanaro pitched into the fifth inning, taking the loss.
Puerto Rico is 2-0
Lopsided scores highlighted the early and mid-day games Sunday at the 2014 Cal Ripken World Series contested at the Ripken Experience Powered by Under Armour complex in Aberdeen.
Mexico, Puerto Rico, Australia and Japan were the big winners, all in International Pool play, while West Raleigh, NC., and Danbury, Conn., were much closer winners in U.S. Pool play.
Puerto Rico, a first-time entrant in the 12-U tournament, beat Republic of Korea, 9-1, behind more good pitching and big hitting at Nationals Park. Korea is 1-1.
Yediel Rodriguez got the Puerto Rico party started with a long solo home run to center in the top of the second inning. It was his second homer in two days.
An inning later, Yanluis Ortiz, ripped his second home run as well, a two-run shot that screamed over the left field wall in just seconds.
"I'm feeling much better now, the last tournament we were in, I wasn't able to hit that well." Ortiz said through translator Edward Hernandez. "I came into this tournament, gonna swing at what I can see and everything's working out pretty good."
Ortiz was also the winning pitcher, working four innings for the win. He allowed one run on two hits and four walks. He struck out five.
Jorge Barreto, who homered in the sixth for Puerto Rico's final two runs, threw two innings in relief.
The winners also scored four runs in the fifth, an inning that started with a two hit batters and a sun aided fly ball base hit.
Darnell Wilson had three hits to pace Puerto Rico.
Min Park had one of Korea's five hits and scored the lone run on Geonyi Kim's ground out. Kim was also the losing pitcher.
"Not one moment did I think that both of these games would be over like they are right now," Puerto Rico manager Ualberto Rodriguez said through translator Hernandez. "We have to win tomorrow."
Rodriguez said he is concentrating on one game at a time and knows that three wins will get his team into Thursday's semifinals.
Aussies also 2-0
Australia also posted its second win, beating Canada (0-2), 11-4, at Cal Sr.'s Yard.
The Aussies found themselves in a tight game, actually trailing 4-2 into the bottom of the third, before sending 14 batters to the plate and scoring nine runs. There were no more runs scored by either team.
Australia pounded out six extra base hits. Mitchell Schofield had a home run and Jarryd Wood added a triple. Caleb Shepherd, Mitchell Chase, Ky Jackson and Wood each hit doubles.
Shepherd, Chase, Wood, Jackson and Luke Socic each had two hits.
Michael Brisson highlighted Canada's offense with a long three-run blast to left field. That bomb had given his team the 4-2 lead.
Lukas Frers and Melvin Lorenzo added doubles for the losing side.
Wood, one of four Australian pitchers, picked up the win, while Aidan Rose, also one of four Canadians to take the mound, took the loss.
Mexico blanks New Zealand
Mexico (1-1) picked up its first win in the tournament, blanking New Zealand, 10-0, in four innings at Cal Sr.'s Yard. New Zealand is 0-2.
Mexico jumped ahead quickly, plating four first inning runs. Jesus Castillo's three-run home run was the highlight.
Mexico's batters were back at it in second inning, scoring five more times and grabbing complete control of the game. Back-to-back run-scoring doubles by Andres Medina and Jerry Cuevas (two RBI) fueled the rally. Fernando Villicana and Alex Ballesteros also drove in runs.
Mexico's final run was scored in the third. Ballesteros singled and later scored on a Roque Salinas single.
Salinas pitched all four innings for the win, striking out 10. Huriwaka Repia and Min Jae Kim had hits for New Zealand.
Japan dominates Dominicana
Japan easily improved to 2-0, beating Dominican Republic, 31-0, in four innings at Nationals Park. The Dominicans are 0-2.
Japan put up a crooked number in all four at bats, including nine in the first and 12 in the fourth. 11 extra base hits were among 25 total hits and Dominican Republic made eight errors.
Taiyo Hayashi (four RBI) had two home runs, while Junnosuke Kikuchi and Koki Hasegawa also homered. Shota Nozaki had the team's lone triple, while doubles were hit by Kotaro Akagi, Shun Fukuta, Yuki Sakurai, Kosuke Nishjima, Hasegawa and Ryusei Okamoto. Akagi also had four RBIs.
Four pitchers pitched an inning each with Hayashi getting the win. Luis Aybar had the only hit for the Dominicans, a single in the second inning.
West Raleigh edges Bear
Southeast champ West Raleigh, NC., saw its first action of the series and escaped with a 1-0 win over Middle Atlantic champ Bear, Del., at Cal Sr.'s Yard. Bear slips to 0-2.
The game's only run was scored in the top of fourth inning. Matthew Willadsen's one-out single to right field was misplayed, allowing Willadsen to reach second. The next batter grounded out to shortstop, but Willadsen moved over to third. He scored a few pitches later on a wild pitch.
Garrett McCraw was tough on hill for West Raleigh, allowing just three hits. He walked two and struck out six in the complete game effort.
Mason Keene was equally impressive for Bear. He also allowed just three hits. He walked one and struck out six.
Jarrett Weglarz, Keene and Shawn Haut, Jr., had hits for Bear. McCraw had West Raleigh's other two hits.
Danbury slides past Little Rock
In a battle of two teams needing a win, New England champ Danbury, Conn., beat Southwest champ, Little Rock, Ark., 5-4, in seven innings at Nationals Park. It was the first extra-inning game of this year's series.
Little Rock scored two runs in the third and one in the fourth, while Danbury pushed across a first inning run and two in the fifth, tying the game at 3.
In the seventh, Robert Bavon gave Little Rock a 4-3 lead, doubling in Zac White, who had walked. Danbury escaped further trouble and came to bat in its half of the seventh.
With one out, Zach Demko singled. Javon Hernandez followed with a double, scoring Demko, and Justin Solimine hit a double as well, plating Hernandez with the winning run.
On the mound, Demko collected the win, pitching five innings, while White took the loss.
Hanford wins again
Pacific Southwest champ Hanford, Cal., improved to 2-0 by defeating Pacific Northwest champ Meridian, Idaho, 5-1, at Cal Sr.'s Yard Sunday evening. Meridian was playing its first game in the tournament.
Hanford, though outhit, 7-5, scored all its runs in two innings. Three came across in the first and two more in the third, while Meridian scored its lone run in its last at bat.
Two of the Hanford hits came in the first. Gavin VanGronigen doubled in the first run and Trent Avitia singled in two more. Two walks also aided the inning.
Two more came in the third, singles by Will Springer and Vince Rangel, but it was a sacrifice fly by Mathew Aguirre that plated VanGronigen with Hanford's fourth run. The fifth run also scored when an errant throw to third allowed Rangel to score. The inning could have been bigger, but Springer was picked of third base.
Meridian's lone run was produced as result of Braden Guerrero's leadoff double and Braxton Mills' reaching by error, scoring Guerrero.
Rangel pitched four innings for the win, striking out eight. Gabriel Hughes took the loss.