Kaiserslautern loses a wild one in Little League World Series, 14-13
Stars and Stripes August 25, 2009
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – A Chris Holba grand slam in an 11-run fifth inning showcased the best of Kaiserslautern Military Community’s team at the Little League World Series, but it wasn’t quite enough in a 14-13 defeat Tuesday to Vancouver, B.C., in a game as wild as any in the entire tournament so far.
Vancouver scored four times in the top of the sixth and held KMC scoreless in the bottom half to preserve the victory. The loss ended KMC’s run at 0-3, but left the team feeling better about its performance here after two four-inning defeats.
“I was just glad to see them play. That hadn’t happened since we’d been here,” said manager Ed Prince. “I didn’t know if it would happen in this one down 10-2, but we started hitting and got it going.”
Vancouver used a five-run fourth inning off KMC reliever Cannon Byrd to build an 8-1 lead then scored two more times in the fifth to make it 10-2.
Jacob Van Parys scored KMC’s first run of the Series in the third when Matt Zembraski singled him home. The team scored again in the fourth off a Cody Prince walk.
The real KMC damage came in the fifth, when it sent 14 batters to the plate off pitchers Anthony Cusati and Ryan Matsuda. The 11-run inning was the third-highest total by any team at the Series, trailing 12-run frames by United States favorites Chula Vista, Calif., and San Antonio, Texas.
Holba led off with a single and scored. Van Parys scored twice, as did Zembraski, who capped the scoring with a two-run home run.
“It was a big at-bat for Chris. He’s one of our great players, but unfortunately struggled in the field,” said Prince. “He came through with the bases loaded.”
Down 13-10, Vancouver responded by retaking the lead in the top of the sixth when Katie Reyes singled home Taz Burman and Nicholas Carusi. Cusati hit a two-run home run earlier in the inning.
“We were kind of bummed they got all those runs, so we had to get the sticks out again like we always do,” said Cusati. “We strung some hits together and came back to win it.”
Kenny Martin took the loss in relief. Cody Prince, Cannon Byrd, and Dan Tolarczyk also pitched for KMC.
“You never know in a Little League game how it’s going to go,” said Prince. “We didn’t get many strikeouts, so we had to get some defensive plays. Cody pitched well, Cannon walked too many so we had to get him out, Dan fought, and then Kenny did a good job, too. It stings a little, but finally we showed what we can do.”
Prince said KMC will stay the duration of the week and play in crossover exhibition games with any team interested. The first one was scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday vs. a team to be determined.
Ben Brigandi is sports editor of the Williamsport (Pa.) Sun-Gazette.