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Saturday, August 21, 2004
Grichuk homers twice for Texas team

Associated Press

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Randal Grichuk tried to play down the fact that he's the only returning U.S. player in this year's Little League World Series. But, maybe experience does count for something.

Grichuk hit two home runs and an RBI double, and Lamar National of Richmond, Texas, never trailed in an 18-7 victory Saturday over Redmond (Wash.) North.

It was the first pitch Grichuk saw in this series -- and the first since he struck out in his final at-bat in a 14-13, seven-inning loss to Saugus, Mass., in last year's U.S. semifinals.

"It feels a lot better to be back, very definitely. I love the games where you get to bat four or five times," Grichuk said. "A lot of people saw last year's [game], and now I think some of them expect us to win. So I guess we've got to."

Daniel Homann sent the next pitch over the wall in left-center field, giving Texas (1-0) a 3-0 lead at the end of the first. Washington (0-1) never got closer.

Matt Daniels (1-0), who hit a grand slam, earned the win. Ryan Beliel (0-1) took the loss.

"The kid's what you'd call a lollipop thrower," Daniels said of his grand slam pitch. "Basically, his fastball had a little rainbow arc to it. A lot of the other kids were way out in front of it, but all I did was, I thought, 'Tennis ball in the cul-de-sac,' and hit it square. And if you hit it square, the ball goes."

In other games Saturday, South Caroline Little League from Preston, Md., beat Owensboro (Ky.) Southern 7-2; Willemstad, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, beat Guadalupe, Mexico 3-2; Dhahran, Saudi Arabia beat Saipan 4-1 in seven innings; Shou-Tien, Taiwan routed Kutno, Poland 18-0 in 4 innings; and Lincoln, R.I., held on for a 3-2 victory over Davenport, Iowa.

Grichuk's second home run capped a five-run second inning for Texas, which started with Cody Abraham's RBI single. Dustin Moehlig scored on a wild pitch. Joey Scheurich's sacrifice fly drove in one run, and a second run scored on an infield error. That set up Grichuck's second homer, which sailed over the wall in center field for an 8-0 Texas lead.

Washington pulled within 8-2 in the bottom of the second, scoring both runs on fielding errors.

But Texas extended its lead to 10-2 in the third with Cody Abraham's RBI single and Grichuk's RBI double.

With runners on second and third, Washington intentionally walked Grichuk in the fifth inning, loading the bases for Daniels' grand slam to left field. Moehlig's RBI single made it 15-2.

"At the beginning of the game, I just told them to be very patient," Texas manager Jim Michalek said. "That's when we're the best hitters."

Washington made a late run in the bottom of the fifth, with RBI doubles from Beliel and Kyle Henselman. Stephen Thompson's two-run single made it 15-6, cutting the lead to less than 10 and sparing Washington a mercy-rule loss.

The last three Texas runs came on a wild pitch and an infield error in the sixth.

Michael Conforto scored the game's last run with a solo homer in the bottom of the sixth.

"The hard games are the 3-2 that you lose in the sixth inning. Getting blown out, then hanging in there, that's not so bad," said Washington manager Darryl Beliel. "We're still in this."

Maryland 7, Kentucky 2

Brady Hare hit a two-run homer, and Hunter Bennett added a two-run double for Maryland, and pitcher Davonta DeShields gave up just two hits.

Curacao 3, Mexico 2

Carlos Pineda hit a three-run homer in the first, then allowed just two hits as Curacao held on for the win. Both of Mexico's runs came in the fourth.

Saudi Arabia 4, Saipan 1, 7 innings

Mark Lumpa hit a two-run double in the top of the seventh to lift Saudi Arabia past Saipan. Matt Timoney and Joel Reimer singled to set up Lumpa's hit, breaking the 1-1 tie.

Taiwan 18, Poland 0, 4 innings

Hsu Chi-Hung and Tung Chen-Lun combined to pitch a no-hitter, Taiwan's 14 first-inning runs were the most in an inning since pool play began in 1992.

Rhode Island 3, Iowa 2

Chris Costantino struck out 15, including the last out with the bases loaded. Rhode Island led 2-0 after the first inning, but Justin Black's home run brought Iowa within 2-1. Iowa, the only team to play two games, fell to 0-2.