Having a ball, N. Carolina team rolls, 13-1


B.J. Brown, the catcher for the West Raleigh, N.C., team in the Cal Ripken World Series in Aberdeen, has played just one game but is keeping busy.

Brown doubled in two runs in his team's 13-1, four-inning rout of the host Harford County team, Hickory Fountain Green, yesterday.

In addition, Brown has taught many of the Republic of Korea players to do the "chicken dance." And in keeping up with what he refers to as his team's "social attitude," he has scores of new friends, and today he and his teammates get to meet Cal Ripken.

"I can't wait to shake his hand and talk to him," said Brown, who will not likely be at a loss for words.

"We are a very social team, that is really loose. Our team saying is, 'Loose as a goose on the loose.' "

West Raleigh manager Eddy Watkins, whose son Seth Watkins also had a two-run double in the team's decisive seven-run second inning, says Brown and four others have been together since age 7.

"These kids have been together for several years and love to play baseball and have fun," Eddy Watkins said.

They are able to do both because of Watkins and his coaching staff of Sean Gallagher and Doug Smith, according to Brown.

"Our coaches are always joking around with us, and they pump us up," said Brown. "We love coming to the baseball field, and here at Cal Sr.'s Yard, it's especially great. We've never seen anything more spectacular than that field."

West Raleigh was the Ripken World Series runner-up last season, when Mexico won its second straight title. And it appears that Mexico once again has a typical powerhouse team.

The defending champs opened yesterday with a 2-0 victory over the Dominican Republic (1-1) as Gustavo Dominguez pitched a no-hitter with 17 strikeouts in six innings. Dominguez did not walk a batter, and one batter reached on an error.

Dominguez and Axel Rios drove in the runs in the first and second innings.

In one of the best games in the series, Jason Yarber's two-out double to right-center field in the bottom of the sixth inning lifted Meridian, Miss., over Calvert County, the Maryland state champion, 2-1.

Calvert County's Nikolay Uherek struck out Meridian's 6-foot-4, 225-pound Daniel Knox for the second time in the game with a runner on first base in the last inning before Yarber's game-winning hit.

NOTES: The Dominican Republic team was the guest of the Orioles' Miguel Tejada and was honored in a pre-game ceremony at Camden Yards on Saturday before returning to Cal Sr.'s Yard and nipping Korea, 2-1, in seven innings on an RBI double by Benito Ramon. ... In yesterday's other games, Lexington, Ky., (2-0) dealt Bronx, N.Y., (1-1) its first loss, 2-0, on a combined three-hitter by Devin Jackson and Trevor Gott, while Steve Hoagland hit a two-run homer; and Kewby Meyer and Ryan Cortez homered as Oahu, Hawaii, routed Marblehead, Mass., 23-3.

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