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Mexico proves a world apart, 8-1

Miguel Rodriguez Castillo pitched a four-hitter and went 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs to lead Mexico past Australia, 8-1, for the International championship yesterday at the Cal Ripken World Series in Aberdeen.

Mexico will play U.S. champion Hilo, Hawaii, a 5-3 winner over West Linn, Ore., in today's 4 p.m. final.

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Nine of the players on the Mexican team, which has won six straight in the series, earned a chance at a rare second World Series championship when they take the field today in a nationally televised game that can be seen here on Comcast SportsNet. The nine-player contingent that includes Mexican shortstop/pitcher Nestor Lopez Zamora, who was named the International League Most Outstanding Player, won the International Baseball Association World Series in Japan in late July.

"It would be awesome to win another world title, and we're confident we can," Zamora said after yesterday's game, patting Castillo on the back and noting that the latter did not play on the team that won in Japan.

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"Miguel got us there today and winning this one would be bigger because this is Cal Ripken's World Series."

Castillo went all six innings yesterday and did not walk a batter, striking out nine for his second win of the series. The Mexican right-hander used his two- and four-seam fastballs and a sharp curveball to get the job done. Chris Lamb had two of the four hits off Castillo and knocked in Australia's only run.

"I'm very proud of our kids and the way they swung the bat," said Australian manager Bob Nilsson. "It's been great playing in such a fantastic place [Ripken Stadium] like this."

Mexico advanced to the International final with one of its lesser hitting games, beating Canada, 3-1, Friday, and Castillo was a bit concerned.

"But after the first couple innings, I knew we were going to be OK," Castillo said through an interpreter.


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