KMC fends off U.K. for 3rd win at Euro Regional
Published: July 22, 2012
The Kaiserslautern Military Community All-Stars remained unbeaten in their quest for a berth in next month’s Little League World Series by downing the U.K. 8-4 in a pool-play game Sunday at Little League Baseball’s European Regional tournament at Kutno, Poland.
Tyler Woodberry socked a two-run homer, his fifth round-tripper of the tournament, in the first inning to put the KMC 11-12-year-olds up early, but the game became a diamond version of the arcade game “Whack-a-Mole” thereafter, according to KMC coach Eric Vincent.
“They kept battling back,” Vincent said by telephone on Sunday. “We’d get a lead and they’d catch us.”
Although KMC never trailed in the contest, Vincent said, the U.K. tied the game at 2-2 and again at 4-4 after the All-Stars had gone up 4-2. Winning pitcher Justin Wilson hit a two-run homer in the fifth, however, to put KMC up for good at 6-4 and allow the All-Stars to hand the U.K. its first loss of the regional.
The homers by Woodberry, who hit three on Saturday and one on Friday, and Wilson, who also homered on Saturday, gave the All-Stars, the champions of Germany, a total of nine for the tournament.
The U.K.’s resilience on Sunday, however, forced KMC to pitch Wilson for three innings, rendering him ineligible for mound duty during the All-Stars’ final two pool games, Monday against unbeaten Italy and Tuesday against Hungary, winless going into its game Sunday against equally winless Serbia. Prior to Sunday, KMC had been able to use enough pitchers to keep all seven of them below the maximum pitch count allowed by Little League rules, but Vincent didn’t see using up Wilson as harmful to his team’s chances. The All-Stars, at 3-0, already are all-but-assured of a spot in Wednesday’s quarterfinals as one of the top four teams in their six-team pool.
The regional semifinals are set for Friday, and the title game, which is to decide which Europe-based team advances to the Little League World Series Aug. 16-26 at Williamsport, Pa., is to begin at 3 p.m. Saturday.