RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Lukas Bradauskas outdueled Kaiserslautern Military Community starter Andre Porterfield on Tuesday as two-time defending champion Lithuania downed KMC 4-2 in a round-robin game on Day 3 of Little League Baseball’s Senior League European Regional tournament for 15- and 16-year-olds.
Bradauskas and Porterfield matched shutouts for the first four frames of the seven-inning contest before Lithuania touched Porterfield for four runs in the bottom of the fifth. Only two of the runs were earned as the two-time champs took advantage of three errors on the part of the usually reliable KMC defense.
"We have a good defense," Porterfield said. "We just made a few mistakes."
The decisive inning began when Lithuania put its leadoff batter on first for the fourth time in five innings, this time when KMC second baseman Christian Randolph was unable to hang on to a hard line drive. The runner took second on a passed ball, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on pinch-hitter Tomas Sereicikas’ single to left.
Porterfield walked the next batter, then threw wildly to first on a sacrifice bunt, allowing another run to score. Braduaskas, who allowed just one hit — a fifth-inning ground single to left by Joey Beach — and struck out six in his five innings of work, capped the rally with a two-out, two-run single to center.
The fifth-inning singles were just the third and fourth hits Porterfield surrendered to hot-hitting Lithuania, which won its previous games here 12-5 over Germany and 16-2 over the Netherlands. An assortment of breaking balls and off-speed pitches from Porterfield had the champs off balance.
"Before the game, we hadn’t planned to throw the breaking ball so much," Porterfield said, "but it started working, so we stayed with it."
KMC scored in the final inning off Lithuania reliever Gytis Martunas when lead-off batter Cavan Cohoes reached on an error, and Josh Sloan, 6-for-11 with seven RBIs in tournament play, followed with a towering 308-foot home run over the left center-field fence. Two groundouts and a strikeout, however, squelched the comeback try.
KMC will take a 2-1 round-robin record into Wednesday’s 9:30 a.m. game at Vogelweh against Germany (0-2 going into Tuesday’s game against 1-1 Italy). A victory will ensure KMC of a place in Friday’s semifinals. Lithuania (3-0) clinched a semifinal berth with Tuesday’s win.
KMC’s final round-robin game against Moldova (1-1 going into Tuesday’s game against 0-2 Netherlands) is scheduled for Ramstein Southside at noon Thursday.
At stake is a berth in the Senior League World Series next month in Bangor, Maine.
Porterfield indicated he’s optimistic about his team’s chances this weekend.
"We have a lot of baseball left," he said. "We’ll get it worked out."