SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Brandon Brewer kept the emphasis
on "little" in the Little League World Series.
Brewer -- all 4-foot-10, 81 pounds of him -- hit a three-run homer
and Apopka, Fla., defeated the Rolando Paulino team from the Bronx,
N.Y., 8-2 in the U.S. championship game Saturday.
Brewer hit the first pitch he saw in the third inning over the
center-field wall for his second home run of the tournament,
bringing home Tyler Scanlon and Stuart Tapley and giving Florida a
3-1 lead. The outfield wall at Howard J. Lamade stadium is 205
"I just try to hit the ball hard every time I'm up to bat. I
guess I hit that one pretty good," Brewer said. "It hit it flush
on the barrel."
Scanlon followed with another three-run shot -- his first hit of
the tournament -- in the fourth inning, a 240-foot fly over the left-field wall that scored Ryan Markell and Jeff Lovejoy and put
Florida up 6-1.
"I hadn't been hitting well for the entire series," Scanlon
said. "It really feels good. I just about had a heart attack."
Tapley (2-1) got the win, striking out 12 and avenging an
earlier loss to the Bronx. Luilli Vinas (1-1) took the loss.
In their previous meeting, Tapley came out nervous, loading the
bases and walking in the first run before giving up a grand slam in
the first inning. After that, he allowed only one hit that game.
"I think he's thrown the ball pretty consistently for us ever
since we started this run," said Apopka coach Ken Tapley, Stuart's
Apopka (4-1) will play Japan in Sunday night's championship game. The Tokyo Kitasuna squad beat Netherlands Antilles 2-1 in the international title game Saturday. Weather permitting, the Bronx
will play the Willemstad, Curacao team in a consolation game
A week ago, Bronx beat Apopka 5-0 in pool play in the first game
of the tournament for both teams. Danny Almonte threw a perfect
game that day with 16 strikeouts, including the first 15 Apopka
But Almonte couldn't pitch Saturday -- Little League rules
prohibit pitchers from throwing consecutive games in the tournament
-- and Vinas was vulnerable. Before Brewer's go-ahead run, Tapley
hit a third-inning double to right field that bounced high off the
wall. Will Blankenship, who has four home runs in the tournament,
also hit a ball to the warning track in the third.
"When their big kid isn't on the mound, it becomes a completely
different ballgame," Ken Tapley said.
Vinas gave up five hits and two walks before being relieved by
Rolando Torres in the fifth inning.
"I turned to Vinas because he has a good, hard fastball and a
good curveball, but he didn't have it," Bronx manager Alberto
Gonzalez said. "He had it for two innings."
The Bronx closed to 8-2 in the fifth when Reynaldo Guava scored
on a wild pitch, but Tapley had three strikeouts -- two with the
bases loaded -- to end the inning, then followed with three more
strikeouts in the sixth.
Andrew Cobb hit a sacrifice fly off Torres in the top of the
fifth that scored Justin Lafavers, and Blankenship scored on a
fielding error, putting Apopka up 8-1.
"I knew they had a great team, and I knew we'd have to score
more runs," Gonzalez said.
"We knew we'd have to score a few runs, and (Vinas') curveball
wasn't as sharp as it could be," Gonzalez said. "They're great
|Apopka coach Ken Tapley hugs his son, winning pitcher Stuart Tapley, left, after his team upset the Bronx in the U.S. championship game at the LLWS.||