Tokyo 9, Toronto 8
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) _ Ruben Mavarez pitched a two-hitter as Maracaibo, Venezuela, beat Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, 3-0 on Monday to improve to 1-1 in the Little League World Series.
Juan Figueroa had two hits and scored once, and Larry Gonzalez drove in a run as Maracaibo bounced back from Sunday’s 10-0 loss to Tokyo. Mavarez, who also drove in a run, struck out five, did not allow a walk, and allowed only one ball out of the infield.
Philip Hecht doubled and Chris Griffith singled for Dharhan, which was playing its Series opener. Curiously, the Dhahran squad is representing Europe and made up of mostly Americans, whose parents work in the Saudi oil fields.
Dhahran pitcher Riley Arp allowed eight hits, but was undone by two errors that lead to Maracaibo’s three-run second inning.
Gonzalez drove Figueroa home to open the scoring. Then with two out and the bases loaded, Mavarez singled to center, driving home Roy Refungol. Gonzalez scored when center-fielder Wande Olabisi misplayed the ball.
Dhahran, which had only two baserunners, mustered a scoring threat in the fourth when Hecht doubled with two out and advanced to third on a pass ball. The inning ended when Mavarez struck out Andrew Blakely.
Earlier in the day, Julian Vandervelde’s two-run homer keyed Davenport, Iowa, to a 5-0 victory over winless Goffstown, N.H., and Tokyo improved to 2-0 by hanging on for a 9-8 win over Toronto. Bellaire, Texas, faced Vancouver, Wash. in the final game of the day.
Vandervelde, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 231 pounds, carried a big bat for Davenport, which marked the U.S. Central region’s first Series win since 1996.
Ahead 1-0, the first baseman slammed a two-run, 239-foot shot off the hedges beyond the center-field wall in the third inning.
``We grow them big (in Iowa),″ Davenport manager Matt Kolar said. ``I don’t know how many teams have one guy that can put the ball out of the park every other time up if you’re not careful. And that’s big because runs are hard to come by.″
Davenport added two more runs in the fifth, while starter Dan O’Donnell _ 10-0 in All-Star play _ went the distance, throwing a two-hitter and striking out seven. Michael Mitchell had a hit and scored three runs.
``I thought it was going to hit the fence when it first went off the bat, because I usually don’t hit line drives all that far,″ said Vandervelde, who failed to hit a homer in seven regional tournament games. ``But yeah, I’m glad it went anyway.″
Alex Sobolov had a double and Jarek Ostrowski singled for Goffstown, which dropped to 0-2 following Sunday’s 3-0 loss to Bellaire, Texas.
In two games, Goffstown has managed just three hits.
``These are the best pitchers in the country and we’re having a hard with the mixing (of pitches),″ Goffstown manager Frank Szumiesz said. ``We’ve just got to refocus.″
Earlier in the day, Toronto’s six-run, sixth-inning rally _ capped by Julian Olibera’s two-out, three-run homer _ fell one run short against Tokyo.
Daiki Ichimura, the second reliever of the inning, got Ozzie Diaz to pop out to second baseman Yuusaku Nakanishi to end the game.
Despite the loss, Toronto manager David Trimble was bolstered by the way his team didn’t give up.
``Let me put it this way. We’d love to have a shot at Japan again in the playoff game,″ Trimble said, referring to Thursday’s International Pool final.
Tokyo, coming off Sunday’s 10-0 win over Maracaibo, has all but mathematically clinched a spot in the pool final. Toronto has two games remaining.
Toronto’s rally overshadowed Tokyo starter Kazuma Yamada’s great pitching and offensive performance.
Yamada threw a three-hitter, smacked two home runs and drove in six runs, giving him a Series-high eight RBIs in two games. He had a three-run shot in the first inning and a solo shot in the sixth.
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