Mexico won its third Cal Ripken 12-and-under World Series in five years yesterday, showing more than 4,000 fans at Cal Sr.'s Yard in Aberdeen why it went 7-0 in the tournament.
The Mexicans ripped U.S. champion Tampa, Fla., 8-0, in the title game, using all five tools - hitting (12 hits), power (three home runs), base running, pitching (combined three-hitter with six strikeouts) and defense (no errors).
Gilberto Carrera hit two home runs and Miguel Rodriguez hit one for Mexico, which also won the title in 2003 and 2004 and was playing in its fifth consecutive final.
Rodriguez also pitched the last 2 2/3 innings in relief of Jose Rivera, who got the win, his third in the series. The pitching roles were reversed from Mexico's 3-1 win over Japan in the International semifinals, when Rivera relieved Rodriguez to get a save.
Rodriguez did not get a save yesterday, but he induced a double play when he entered the game with one out and two Tampa runners on in the fourth inning and Mexico leading, 3-0.
"I was very happy to throw just one pitch and get the double play," Rodriguez said through his coach, Anwar Perez.
Mexico scored four runs in the fifth inning to make it 7-0 and end all doubt about the outcome.
Gerardo Briones walked, starting the big inning against Tampa reliever Shane Jeffcoat, who gave up his first earned runs of the series in 12 innings pitched.
Carrera followed with his second hit, a bunt down the third-base line that forced the third baseman to field the ball and sent Briones scampering all the way to the unattended bag at third.
After Carlos Munoz struck out and Briones scored on Jeffcoat's errant pickoff throw, Rodriguez launched his third homer of the series, a two-run shot to left-center. Brian Andrade's RBI double later made it 7-0.
Carrera, who took Player of the Game honors, closed the scoring in the top of the sixth with his second homer and third hit of the game to make it 8-0. He had not hit a homer in the series until yesterday.
"It was a thrill to hit the home runs for Mexico in the world championship," Carrera said through Perez. "I was very happy to win it here at Cal Sr.'s Yard. Besides winning the World Series, I went to see the Orioles and my first major league game, which made me very happy."
Vince Miniet and Rick Caldevilla doubled, and Christian Arroyo singled for the three hits by Tampa (5-2) that all came in the first three innings.
Notes -- Cal Ripken Jr. thanked everyone, especially the scores of volunteers and host families for their help in making the series a success. Speaking from home plate after the awards presentation, Ripken said plans are to make the series bigger next year, possibly with more teams. ... Fans filled the 3,200 seats yesterday, and there were people sitting behind the outfield fence from foul pole to foul pole. ... Rob Weinhold, the vice president of Ripken Baseball, said the organization was more than pleased with the family atmosphere that was created with a huge Energizer Bunny and a climbing wall for kids, and various forms of entertainment between innings, including Blues Brothers email@example.com
Mexico 012 041 - 8 12 0
Tampa 000 000 - 0 3 2
Rivera, Rodriguez (4) and Villafranca; Cherry, Jeffcoat (5), Olivera (5) and Miniet. 2B: M--Rivera, Briones; Andrade; T--Miniet, Caldevilla. HR: Carrera (2), Rodriguez.