KELLY P. KISSEL
Aug. 24, 1994
Northridge, Calif. 6, Middleboro, Mass. 4 Springfield, Va. 4, Brooklyn Center, Minn. 1 Saudi Arabia 6, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia 3 Venezuela 4, Taiwan 1
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) _ Middleboro knew to look for the curve balls. It just didn't know what to do once Northridge pitcher Peter Tuber threw them.
The Californian, throwing pitches the Massachusetts team has seldom seen, struck out 13 Tuesday as Northridge won 6-4 in the second round of the Little League World Series.
''We play a 22-game schedule without curve balls. They do not allow curve balls in our league,'' Middleboro manager Steve McKenna said. ''They feel that throwing them too early tends to destroy a kid's arm.''
Without the ability to hit them, Middleboro now has the worst record in the U.S. bracket and needs a victory Wednesday against Brooklyn Center, Minn., to stay alive.
All U.S. teams still can advance to the World Series championship on Saturday. Springfield beat Brooklyn Center 4-1 Tuesday night to virtually lock up one spot. Springfield would have to lose and give up more than six runs Wednesday, and have other things work against them, not to qualify.
''As far as I'm concerned, they'll never know any different,'' Springfield manager Jim Hamilton. He won't tell his team they're almost a shoe-in.
Venezuela clinched a spot in Thursday's semifinal with a 4-1 victory over Taiwan and Saudi Arabia eliminated Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, 6-3.
Matthew Cassel hit a three-run homer for Northridge in the third, giving the West champions a 4-0 lead. Nathaniel Dunlap reached on an error before Spencer Gordon singled. Earlier, Matthew Cunningham was hit by a pitch, moved up on Dunlap's grounder between second baseman Brandon Soule's legs and scored on Gordon's hit.
Middleboro's identical twins Kevin and Brandon Brower had nearly identical doubles in the fourth. Then singles by Daryl Bradford and Joseph Moles and a fielder's choice by John Hebert made it 4-3.
Justin Gentile homered in the Northridge fourth, and Matthew Fisher scored in the fifth when he reached on an error, moved to second on a walk and scored on Gregory Wallis' single.
Brandon Bower opened the top of the sixth with a home run to center.
Tuber is 1-0 in the Series. Brandon Bower is 0-1.
Ethan Lare (1-0) limited Brooklyn Center to three hits in Springfield's victory, added a fourth-inning homer and scored in the sixth as he, Mike Fratoe and Matt Andrews hit three consecutive singles. Fratoe also opened the second inning with a home run.
Springfield also turned two double plays behind Lare, once when Jermar Larkins lined to second baseman Fratoe, who flipped to shortstop Paul Weishar to double off Eric Tauscheck.
''Major leaguers don't execute any better than that,'' Springfield coach George Lare said. ''Both times, the Central (Minnesota) had an excellent chance to get some runs and we stopped them cold.''
Brooklyn Center scored its only run when Jason Erklouts singled and moved to third on a passed ball and a wild pitch in the fifth. He scored on Dwayne Erickson's grounder back to the mound.
''It's disappointing. We hit a couple of balls hard, but we got a couple of pitches too high and they capitalized on them,'' Brooklyn Center manager Larry Wendell said. Sean Aasen (0-1) took the loss.
Taiwan's problem with Venezuela was different than Middleboro's with Northridge. While Middleboro couldn't hit curve balls, the Far East champions had trouble hitting anything. Venezuela pitcher Cesar Hidalgo struck out the first 12 batters he faced and finished with 15 strikeouts.
Hidalgo (1-0) was perfect through four innings before giving up a homer to Wu Hsiu-Fan on the first pitch of the fifth inning. By then, Venezuela was up 2-0 on Eduardo Ferrer's single, Pedro Infante's double and Elio Perez' infield hit off the glove of Shih Hsiang-Kai (0-1).
Perez added a two-homer in the fifth, scoring Lewis Gonzalez, who had singled.
Saudi Arabia scored five runs on wild pitches in its victory. The team, made up mostly of sons of Americans living in Saudi Arabia, scored its other run on a fielder's error.
Canadian pitcher Jason Snow had nine wild pitches.
Gwilym Griffith opened the game by singling, stealing and scoring on two wild pitches. Ashly Atherton and Christopher Fouts singled in the second. Jared Truair, running for Atherton, scored after two wild pitches, Fouts scored when Griffith reached on an error and Griffith scored after a walk, an error and another wild pitch.
The ball did not leave the infield in the inning.
Snow (0-1) had four wild pitches in the fifth to score John Schoenholtz and Christopher Norseth, who singled and walked.
Daniel MacDonald scored Canada's first run in the third inning, reaching on an error, advancing on a Akul Nishawala (1-0) wild pitch and scoring on Chad Warren's single. Anthony Sheppard had a pinch-hit double in the fifth and scored on Ryan Young's single. Warren added a home run in the sixth.