Moorpark, Calif. 7, Marshalltown, Iowa 3
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) _ Yang Chia-chen struck out 12 batters, allowed only one hit and hit a 240-foot home run Tuesday, leading Taiwan past the Dominican Republic 9-0 in what likely was a preview of Thursday’s international semifinal at the 50th Little League World Series.
In Tuesday’s earlier games, Moorpark, Calif., defeated Mahalltown, Iowa, 7-3 and Canada edged Saudi Arabia 3-2.
Taiwan (2-0), which has a team in the series for the 21st time in 28 years, scored four first-inning runs and 4-foot-11, 95-pound Hsieh Chin-hsiung hit a two-run home run and an RBI single.
Hsieh, who is batting .750 in the series with three home runs, weighs half as much as the heaviest player in Williamsport _ 189-pound Jody Posey of Panama City, Fla.
Juan Castillo had the only hit for the Dominican Republic (1-1), a single to right in the fourth.
Earlier, inspired by the memory of a player from their hometown, Moorpark beat Marshalltown as Erik Johnson struck out 13 batters and Aaron Garcia hit a two-run homer.
Johnson’s fastball was measured at 70 mph and, considering the 46-foot distance from the mound to home plate in Little League, that is the equivalent of a major league fastball in the low 90s.
``Our No. 5 to No. 9 batters just could not get around on him,″ Marshalltown manager Brad Clement said. Those five batters struck out eight times in 12 at-bats.
Marshalltown pitchers intentionally walked Johnson twice, but the strategy backfired. He scored the first time, was thrown out at the plate the second time and threw harder because he was mad about the walks.
``You know, it bugs you, especially when it happens twice. And when I’m mad, I pitch harder and I pitch more accurate,″ Johnson said.
Moorpark players have been honoring Little League infielder Joel Burchfield, who drowned Jan. 31 while trying to cross a drainage ditch in the Suthern California town.
``We know he’s right there with them when they go out on the field,″ said Joel’s mother, Laura, who traveled to Williamsport with the team. Joel’s father, Dan, pitches Moorpark’s batting practice.
Moorpark players wear black wristbands with Joel’s No. 15, and touch a banner bearing his name before each game.
``When we get down, Joel helps us out. We believe in Joel, and we go out there and play hard,″ center fielder Aaron Garcia said.