Matt Kubel, Conn. drop Nebraska
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Kevin Oricoli finally has bragging rights over his big brother.
Not many 12-year-old boys can say they hit a two-run single at the Little League World Series.
Oricoli's two-out clutch hit keyed a three-run third inning, and Matt Kubel silenced Nebraska's bats to help Fairfield, Conn., avoid elimination Saturday at the Little League World Series with a 12-0 victory.
Oricoli is savoring the moment -- and not just because his team is one step closer to a Little League title.
His 14-year-old brother, Jack, played on the Fairfield American All-Star team last year that lost in the regional semifinals. Egged on by his manager, Bill Meury, Oricoli didn't waste an opportunity to talk smack following Saturday's win after a reporter asked who was getting the last laugh in the Oricoli family.
"Right now, right now, everyone except my brother. As you know, I made it farther than him," Oricoli said, smiling, as Meury laughed. "Now, he's jealous of me and now it's kind of awkward around him now because he's jealous."
Connecticut gets a well-earned day off before returning to the diamond Monday. Kubel, a 13-year-old lefty whose favorite player is New York Yankees ace left-hander CC Sabathia, frustrated his foes with well-placed fastballs and about a half-dozen harmless bouncers to third.
Kubel, who struck out six over 4 2/3 innings, was a little anxious coming into the elimination game.
"Obviously, you get a little nervous looking at 10,000 people in the stands, but I just tried to focus and play my game," he said with an ice pack strapped to his left elbow.
Nebraska's strategy to swing early in the count to avoid falling behind to Kubel and his big curve didn't work.
After Connecticut's own slow start, the offense exploded for three runs in the third and six in the fourth. Both times, the bottom of Connecticut's order got the rallies going.
No. 9 hitter Patrick Steed reached base on a walk in the third before coming home on Oricoli's single. Steed also doubled in a run in the fourth. Will Lucas added a homer and five RBIs.
Nebraska manager Brad Wegner hopes to get his team refocused in order to leave South Williamsport with a win in Monday's consolation game.
"They've had a great time, but they're hugely disappointed," Wegner said. "It's been an awesome experience."
One that Jack Oricoli was able to share with his little brother after cheering him on from the stands. He took Kevin's good-natured ribbing in stride.
"He was with me last year during regionals and I'm here with him in Williamsport," Jack said as the boys' father, Steve, smiled nearby. "And yeah, he's gotten farther than me and he's teasing me about it."
New Jersey 10, Oregon 4
Leadoff hitter Emil Matti hit two solo homers and scored four runs to lead Parsippany, N.J., to a 10-4 victory over Gresham, Ore., on Saturday night.
Matti hit both shots to center, including a blast to lead off the game that caromed off the top of the brick wall beyond the fence 225 feet away.
And New Jersey's vocal fans chanted the names of each of their favorite sons as they strode to the plate as if they were Yankee Stadium "Bleacher Creatures."
Manager Mike Ruggiero called Matti a steady, five-tool player.
"I was hitting the ball, and whatever they gave me," Matti said with a slight smile after the game.
Trailing 5-0 in the second, Oregon cut it to 5-4 in the third on Tyler Linch's two-run single.
But Linch was later tagged out at home after trying to score the potential tying run on a grounder to second.
"They definitely started swinging the bats like we've been waiting for them to do," Oregon manager Jason Trickel said. "We were just one good swing from tying up the game."
Reliever Kyle Phillips quieted Oregon the rest of the way with four shutout innings.
D.J. Pico added a two-run homer -- his first all season -- for New Jersey, while Ezra Samperi had a two-run single in the second inning for Oregon.
Oregon will play Uganda in a consolation game Tuesday after being eliminated from contention.
Curacao 14, Germany 2 (4 innings)
Curacao sent 13 batters to the plate in an eight-run first inning in a 14-2 victory that eliminated Ramstein Air Base, Germany, from the series.
Christopher Koeiman had the big blow for the winners from Willemstad with a three-run homer to center field in the first. Rallison Bentura added a two-run single, while Arjun Huerta and Jurickson Fecunda also had RBIs.
Curacao took advantage of four errors by the Europe region champions, comprised of children whose parents serve or work at the U.S. military installation in Germany.
Bentura finished with four RBIs for Curacao in a game that ended after four innings due to Little League's 10-run rule.
Justin Wilson and Kyle Glenn each had RBI singles for Germany in the third.
Mexico 12, Uganda 0 (4 innings)
The first team from Africa to advance to the World Series in the 66-year history of the tournament received a baseball lesson from Mexico's mini-mashers from Nuevo Laredo.
Three pitchers combined on a perfect game and Jose Turrubiates homered and drove in three runs for Mexico, which avoided elimination. The sluggers have hit eight homers in two games at the World Series.
The 12-year-old Turrubiates also finished the game on the mound with two strikeouts in the fourth after the contest ended early due to Little League's 10-run rule.
Baseball is an emerging sport in Uganda, where soccer is more popular. The Little League program in Uganda began only several years ago, and organizers hope the World Series trip gets more children there interested in baseball and softball.Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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