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Marshalltown, Iowa, 6, Cranston, R.I., 1

August 21, 1996

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) _ Marshalltown, Iowa, was eliminated from the Little League World Series despite beating Cranston, R.I., 6-1 Wednesday behind Jeff Clement’s two-hitter on two days of rest.

Cranston (1-2) awaited the outcome of Wednesday evening’s game between Moorpark, Calif., and Panama City, Fla., to see whether the Rhode Islanders were eliminated from the series. A win by undefeated Florida would leave California at 1-2 and tied with Rhode Island.

Iowa (1-2) was ousted because it gave up only a fraction more runs per inning (16 in 17 innings) than did Rhode Island (15 in 16 innings). If Iowa had surrendered one less run, Rhode Island would be out.

Rhode Island manager Mike Varrato said his chances were ``about as good as winning the Rhode Island Powerball,″ but they were actually much better than that. His team’s progress depended on California losing and giving up more than seven runs.

Clement had two days’ less rest than major league pitchers get, and won Wednesday despite walking three, throwing two wild pitches and hitting a batter. He doubled and singled and was hit twice himself.

``We kept him out of batting practice and had him make a few throws, and he said his arm felt tired but not sore,″ manager and father Brad Clement said. ``He got through those last two innings, but it looked like he was a little more than tired.″

Iowa gave up the run that kept it out of the semifinals in the top of the first. Rhode Island took a 1-0 lead when Tom Michael’s single to right scored Craig Stinson, who had been hit in the head by Clement but was unhurt.

Michael then walked in two Marshalltown runners in the bottom of the inning and another in the second, and also hit three batters in his three innings.

``I thought the strike zone was kind of small today,″ Varrato said. ``Tommy felt that he was getting squeezed.″

Mike Mogard had an RBI double in the third, scoring Jason Nusbaum, and Jory Krueger, then scored ahead of a double play on Tyler Davis’ fly ball to center. Mogard scored after a walk in the fifth on Stinson’s throwing error.

The top two U.S. teams meet in one semifinal Thursday, with the other matching the top two international teams. The championship game is Saturday.

Darwing Hernandez pitched a two-hitter, striking out six for the Dominican Republic, which has a team in the series for the fourth time in the 1990s. The game was called after five innings under the league’s 10-run rule.

Roman Solano drove in two runs with a single during the Dominican Republic’s three-run first inning, and hit a home run to lead off a six-run fourth.

Also in the fourth, Romer Guillen hit his second home run of the series, a three-run shot, and Julio Lara hit his second homer of the series. Guillen went 4-for-4 and is batting .555.

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