Little League World Series Roundup
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) _ Last to arrive, first to surprise. It’s nothing new for the Little Leaguers from Vancouver, Wash.
They stunned the California powerhouses to win the Western Region tournament last week, and they carried it over in being the last of the eight teams to play their Little League World Series opener on Monday night.
Vancouver, only the third team from Washington State and first since Kirkland National won the title in 1982, got big hits, strong defense and a dominating pitching performance to beat Bellaire, Texas, 5-0.
``We’re trying to make a statement for the community,″ said manager Tom Peavey, who’s making it a habit of explaining exactly where Vancouver _ on the Oregon border _ is located. ``The people from Hazel Dell (Little League) have said we put them on the map. I think they put us on the map because of their support.″
Jay Ponciano pitched a two-hitter, and didn’t allow a runner past second. Catcher Dustin Corl’s two-run homer in the third opened the scoring to spark the victory.
Pressure? What pressure, said Ponciano, who said he bore down after getting the lead because he didn’t want ``to blow it.″
``Playing in the Western Regional championship game, I got used to (the pressure),″ he said. ``It’s my job, and I’ve got to get it done.″
The loss surprised Bellaire. Coming off Sunday’s 3-0 victory over Goffstown, N.H., the Texans were expecting to face a potentially nervous Vancouver squad.
It didn’t turn out that way, Bellaire manager Terry McConn said.
``They’re a really good team and I’m not going to sit here and try to take anything away from them,″ McConn said.
Bellaire’s loss left only one team _ Tokyo _ with a 2-0 record two days into the Series. Both Vancouver and Davenport, Iowa _ which beat Goffstown 5-0 in its Series opener earlier in the day _ are 1-0.
In other games Monday, Tokyo survived a six-run, sixth-inning rally to hang on for a 9-8 victory over Toronto (0-1), and Maracaibo, Venezuela, evened its record at 1-1 with a 3-0 win over Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (0-1).
Goffstown is 0-2.
With all eight teams playing Tuesday, that leaves a wide open field of teams contending to reach Thursday’s pool championship games.
Bellaire is aware the pressure is on them to bounce back, considering they face Davenport in their final pool-round game.
``We feel we can win,″ Bellaire shortstop Zach Jamail said.
``We’ve done it in state, we’ve done it in sectionals, and we’ve always come back,″ catcher Terry McConn said.
Davenport 5, Goffstown 0
At 6-foot-2 and 231 pounds, first baseman Julian Vandervelde is a big bat in the Davenport lineup.
He pounded a two-run homer that reached the hedges beyond the center-field wall _ a shot measured at 239 feet _ to spark Davenport’s victory.
``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,″ Davenport manager Matt Kolar said.
It was the Central Region’s first win in Series play since 1996, and only the Central’s second win against an East Region opponent in 11 meetings.
Dan O’Donnell pitched a two-hitter and struck out seven for Davenport, while Justin Evans had two hits.
In two games, Goffstown has yet to score a run and had just three hits.
Tokyo 9, Toronto 8
What looked like a sure Tokyo win turned into a nail-biter.
Toronto pounced on reliever Hayato Ohmae, rallying for six runs in the sixth before falling just short..
After Julian Olibera’s two-out three-run homer pulled Toronto within one, reliever Daiki Ichimura got Ozzie Diaz to pop out to second baseman Yuusaku Nakanishi to end it.
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.
Toronto’s rally overshadowed Tokyo starter Kazuma Yamada’s solid performance.
Yamada _ pulled after the fifth with a 9-2 lead _ threw a three-hitter, smacked two homers and drove in six runs, giving him a Series-high eight RBIs in two games.
Maracaibo 3, Dhahran 0
For the second straight game, Maracaibo stranded seven baserunners. But at least they pulled out a win this time.
Capitalizing on two Dhahran errors, the Venezuelans scored all three runs in the second and rode Ruben Mavarez’s two-hit pitching performance to victory.
Mavarez also drove in a run, while Juan Figueroa had two hits and scored once for Maracaibo, coming off Sunday’s 10-0 loss to Tokyo.
``We don’t leave (seven) men on base in a game. That’s not typical. And we’re not taking advantage of our at-bats,″ Figueroa said.