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Friday, August 18, 2006
New England slams the Northwest in Series opener


SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Billy Hartmann started off Portsmouth's stay at the Little League World Series in grand fashion.

Hartmann capped a five-run first inning with a grand slam as the New Hampshire club posted a 6-1 victory over Beaverton, Oregon in the opening game of the LLWS.

The New England region champion, Portsmouth received national attention when it advanced to the finals in the region finals last Friday despite losing to a team from Vermont because of a rule violation.

Portsmouth proved early on in this one that it belonged. Jordan Bean started the rally with a one-out walk and Mathew Feeney followed with a double, scoring pinch runner John Graham.

Conor Trefethen was hit by a pitch by Devin DeJardin (0-1) and Connor McCauley singled before Hartmann blew open the Pool B contest with his home run.

"That was one of the best moments of my life," Hartman said. "I hit the ball to right because the pitch was outside."

The early support proved more than enough for Bean (1-0), who struck out 14 in allowing a run and two hits in six innings for the complete game.

His counterpart, DeJardin, reached Bean for a homer leading off the second inning. However, the Portsmouth pitcher got even in the third, striking out DeJardin to get out of a bases-loaded jam.

"[It was] just jitters and the stage is pretty big," Beaverton coach Jeff Keller said. "It's the first time in 48 years that an Oregon team has been here."

Portsmouth will return to action Saturday against Columbia, Missouri while Beaverton will not play again until Sunday against Lake Charles, Louisiana.