Saturday, August 20, 2011
Georgia, Pennsylvania move on
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Every step around the bases and every swing at the plate made Jake Fromm's back ache.
The 13-year-old slugger from Warner Robins, Ga., had the perfect remedy -- take a hack at the first pitch in each of his first two at-bats.
Fromm's homer and four RBIs Saturday in a 6-3 win over Rapid City, S.D., at the Little League World Series helped him briefly forget about the pain in the back he hurt in practice earlier in the week.
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"It hurt. I'm going to be honest, it hurt," Fromm said with a wide grin, showing off braces. The first-inning homer to deep center and the third-inning sacrifice fly to the base of the center-field wall both came on first-pitch swings.
"Swing early, you don't have to worry about it," Fromm said. "You put the ball in play, only one swing hurts you."
Those swings hurt South Dakota, too, which was eliminated from contention.
Also Saturday, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, eliminated Oranjestad, Aruba, with a 20-3 victory. Chin-Hao Yang led a 19-hit attack, going for 4 for 4 with three runs.
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, eliminated Rotterdam, Netherlands, with a 4-2 win Saturday night; and the central Pennsylvania favorites from Clinton County defeated Cumberland, R.I., 2-0 in the nightcap.
A night after losing 1-0 to Kentucky, Pennsylvania ace Alex Garbrick allowed just three hits and struck out six before another large crowd at Lamade Stadium. Wyatt Koch's two-out single in the fifth drove home an insurance run that had fans roaring for the blue-clad Keystone league from Clinton County.
"Big Blue Machine" read signs held up in the crowd.
Rhode Island was eliminated, though that didn't stop Pennsylvania from inviting the New England champions to accompany them on a victory lap around the stadium track to cheers from fans for both squads. "That's a classy team," Rhode Island manager Dave Belisle said.
"I did say to the boys after that lap, 'I just really want (Pennsylvania) to win, I really do.' ... If they stay focused and they take the energy from the crowd, I don't know how we would have played them. Not again anyways," Belisle added.
Georgia faced the same predicament, too, Saturday, an unusual prospect for the Warner Robins team so early in the World Series.
"Warner Robins! Warner Robins," yelled the Georgia fans, a familiar refrain in Lamade Stadium during the league's 2007 run to the World Series crown.
Fromm's bat provided ample support for starter Logan Arnett, who struck out five in five innings before tiring late.
After Hayden McGriff's RBI double, Brett Beyer smacked a two-run homer off Arnett on to the hill beyond left field that got South Dakota within three.
"They were nervous. ... They know we are capable of coming back. Maybe we should start looking at Little League going eight innings instead of six," joked Hayden's father, manage Kasey McGriff.
Too late. After Beyer's homer, Georgia manager Phillip Johnson brought in his ace, Fromm, who couldn't pitch Georgia's World Series opener because of a sore back.
Fromm sandwiched two groundouts around a strikeout to end the game and get the save before coolly exchanging a celebratory fist-bump with his manager.
Arnett "did a masterful job ... because that was a very good hitting team," Johnson said. "They just saw (Arnett) one too many times at the end to make it interesting.
Chinese Taipei 20, Aruba 3
Chin-Hao Yang led a 19-hit attack, going for 4 for 4 with three runs, as Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei, eliminated Oranjestad, Aruba.
The 5-foot-6 Yang, one of the tallest players on the Chinese Taipei team, used his height to his advantage after making a leaping stab of Albert Pop's line drive to save an extra-base hit in the third. The 12-year-old Yang also singled to load the bases before scoring on Chi-Ling Hsu's first-inning double. The game ended after four innings because of Little League's 10-run rule.
After getting shut out and committing five errors in a loss Thursday against Mexico, Chinese Taipei's players settled down playing in front of thousands of fans on a sunny afternoon.
"We were much more comfortable today. The weather was good. We weren't as nervous," Yang said through interpreter Sammy Cheng. "We got used to being in front of that crowd on the field."
Aruba was eliminated, but the team did have a bright spot when an overturned call erased what would have been the game's final out. The players celebrated after stringing together three RBI hits with two outs before a flyout ended the game.
Saudi Arabia 4, Netherlands 2
Trailing by two runs, Christopher Gijsbers walked and Diamond Silberie doubled to put runners on second and third for the Netherlands with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Tyler Wilkins then came on in relief to end the rally and eliminate the Netherlands from contention.
Tanner Beachy had an RBI single in the third and Hadi Fadlallah had an RBI walk in the fourth, while Marijn Jelsma hit a two-run double in the third inning to account for Saudi Arabia's runs.