Will Lucas tosses no-hitter in LLWS
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Will Lucas threw a no-hitter to lead Fairfield, Conn., past New Castle, Ind., 4-0 Monday night at the Little League World Series.
The 12-year-old right-hander struck out 13 and also had a two-run single in the fifth. When it was over, he pumped his fist high in the air before falling to the ground as his teammates piled on top of him near the mound.
"Once I saw him in the bullpen, I knew it was going to be a good night," catcher Biagio Paoletta said.
SN: LLWS no-hitter
Connecticut's Will Lucas threw a six-inning no-hitter in an elimination win over Indiana. Is a Little League no-no impressive?
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Matt Kubel homered for Connecticut, which will play California in a rematch on Tuesday night. Connecticut lost the first matchup 6-4 last week.
Lucas said he was aware of his no-hit bid during the game, in part because Kubel mentioned it to him in the dugout during the game.
"You know you're not supposed to do that, right," manager Bill Meury said as he looked over at Kubel. The 13-year-old first baseman grinned as he nodded sheepishly.
One out away from completing the no-hitter, Lucas was surrounded by his infielders for an impromptu conference on the mound.
Lucas changed speeds effectively all night, and third baseman Kevin Oricoli dared him to mix it up even more by throwing a knuckleball.
Not a chance, Lucas said.
"If it was hit, he'd probably run out ... and tackle me to the ground," said Lucas, an ice pack strapped to his potent right shoulder.
Indiana was eliminated with the loss.
"I think we did some really good things here," manager Tim Porter said. "At the end of the day life is a lot bigger than baseball. ... We would have liked to win this thing, but we didn't."
California 5, New Jersey 4
Danny Marzo was thinking about his manager's advice as he walked to the plate in the eighth inning: Concentrate on making a good swing, not hitting a home run.
He listened and went deep anyway -- for one memorable game-ending shot.
The 12-year-old Marzo drove a breaking ball to the grassy hill beyond the right-field wall to help Petaluma, Calif., advance in the Little League World Series with a 5-4 victory over Parsippany, N.J., on Monday.
Manager Eric Smith "told me you can't go up there thinking walk-off home run," Marzo said. "You have to be thinking base hit. A walk-off comes off a good base-hit swing."
Marzo's giddy teammates started lining up around the plate to pat him on his helmet before he even reached second. Their frantic fans started chanting "Petaluma!"
The skipper's son, 13-year-old shortstop Hance Smith, knew the ball was headed out when he saw Marzo's swing.
"I didn't really (see the ball) leave the park," Hance Smith said with a smile. "I just came out to greet him."
Parsippany pushed across two runs in the sixth to tie it at 4. Emil Matti homered and David Ton had an RBI single.
California's Logan Douglas struck out four in 2 1/3 scoreless innings to set up Marzo's winning homer. Smith went 2 for 3 with a two-run single in the fourth.
Petaluma's victory sparked a celebration in Oakland's clubhouse before a night game against Minnesota. Third baseman Brandon Inge planted a whipped cream pie on teammate Jonny Gomes after the Athletics watched Marzo's big hit. Gomes, who's from Petaluma, proudly wore a Petaluma Little League T-shirt.
The California kids have a flair for dramatic victories, just like the A's, who have a major league-leading 20 wins in their final at-bat.
"I don't know if we're watching them or they're watching us," said Gomes, a longtime financial supporter of the local league. "It must be in the water up here."
Despite the loss, New Jersey fulfilled the goal the team set from the first day of practice: Get to South Williamsport.
"Like I told the kids, you came to visit," manager Mike Ruggiero said. "You're on the best field in the world and you played on it."
Curacao 4, Canada 3
Christopher Koeiman drove in two runs with a tying sacrifice fly, Mychellon Jansen hit a tiebreaking solo homer and Willemstad, Curacao beat Vancouver, British Columbia 4-3 on Monday to advance at the Little League World Series.
Trailing 3-1 entering the fifth, Curacao had runners on second and third when Koeiman hit a fly ball to left with one out. Carter Kada-Wong fell backward to make the catch, but both runners had enough time to score.
Jansen then homered to give Curacao the lead for good.
Reliever Rallison Bentura pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings to get the win.
"I had the attitude that nobody could hit me," the 12-year-old right-hander said through an interpreter.
Cole Dalla-Zanna was the hard-luck loser for Canada, striking out nine.
"Our pitcher threw unbelievable. I'm not unhappy with the effort, that's for sure," manager Vito Bordignon said.
Canada took a 3-1 lead in the fourth when Noah Hanson-Stafford came off the bench to hit a two-run homer.
Canada was eliminated but Bordignon wants his players to be proud of their showing this year, which included a 13-9 win over formidable Mexico.
Next up for Canada: a little sightseeing in Pennsylvania.
"I just told them they had a great tournament and to keep their heads up," Bordignon said. "They represented Canada well."
Nebraska 17, Germany 1
The kids from Kearney, Neb., have earned the state's first-ever win at the Little League World Series -- and set a tournament record, too.
The Midwest champs muscled up at the plate Monday to beat Germany's Ramstein Air Base 17-1. Thirteen-year-old Jared Wegner went 3 for 4 with a homer and five RBIs in the game delayed by rain and played under sometimes sloppy conditions.
Nebraska scored 15 runs alone in the second, a single-inning record for a World Series game.
The boys were relegated to the consolation round after losing their first two games of the double-elimination tournament. Friends and family are planning a big celebration back home in Kearney.
First, Nebraska plans to play an exhibition game with another World Series rookie, Uganda, on Wednesday morning. Uganda is the first team from Africa to advance to youth baseball's biggest tournament.
Kearney's kids are also rather enjoying their new-found stardom. Besides playing baseball, 13-year-old Blake Quintana, who went 2 for 3 with two runs, said his favorite part of the experience was signing autographs and taking pictures.
"Ha, a celebrity," skipper Brad Wegner said with a laugh.
Tyler Woodberry had a hit and RBI for winless Germany. The players' parents serve or work at the U.S. military installation overseas.
The Ramstein bunch plans to stay the rest of the week and attend a Yankees game in New York next week.
Both teams even had fun in the dugouts during the delay, where Nebraska second baseman Matt Masker, 13, showed off his dance moves to the hip hop song "Teach Me How to Dougie" by Cali Swag District.
"They also wanted to go out on the tarp and do some sliding," Masker's manager said. "All fun all the time."
Mexico 4, Chinese Taipei 3
Mexico manager Fernando Rios was suspended for two games after a player on his roster did not bat during a 4-3 victory over Taoyuan, Chinese Taipei.
The punishment was announced after the win. The suspension begins with Tuesday's elimination game against Curacao. Rios is not permitted to be on site for the games, but he can still oversee practices.
Little League rules require all players make an appearance at the plate.
Rios' team grabbed the lead for good against Chinese Taipei when it scored three times in the third inning, including two on a throwing error.
Mexico loaded the bases after tying it at 2 on an error. In the next at-bat, Chinese Taipei's catcher tried to run back a runner who had strayed off first, but the ball slipped from his hand on a fake throw and dribbled into right field. Two runs scored to give Mexico a 4-2 lead.
Chun-Hsiao Chen hit an RBI single in the fourth, but Mexico center fielder Fernando Benavides cut down the potential tying run at the plate.
Cheng-Feng Lee struck out 10 in a complete-game loss.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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