Little League: Saudi team rolls to 2-0 with 20-0 win over Naples
August 7, 2004
KUTNO, Poland — Saudi Arabia continued to move like a buzzsaw through the U.S. military competition Friday in Little League Baseball’s Transatlantic Regional tournament.
Playing only 14 hours after thumping Ramstein 12-1, Saudi Arabia clocked Naples for a 20-0, run-rule shortened victory on Friday morning.
“It could have been 200-0,” Naples assistant coach Dwight Smalls said. “They were bunting to us at the end.”
Saudi (2-0) struck for 10 runs on 10 hits against Naples starter Lucas Herweyer in the top of the first.
After failing to score in the second, the four-time defending tournament champions added four runs in the third, even though they limited themselves to stopping at first base after each hit.
They continued that strategy in the top of the fourth, until Joel Reimer’s grand slam ended the onslaught. The next three batters bunted into outs.
Saudi pitchers Alex Robinette and Reimer combined on a one-hitter: a leadoff single to 76-pound Naples shortstop Devon Mitchell. Robinette threw three innings and struck out five; Reimer struck out two of the three batters he faced.
“I’m not mad,” Smalls said. “When Saudi gets to Williamsport (Pa., site of the Little League World Series), every team they face has a program like theirs. To compete, they have to play that way.”
The lopsided defeat dropped Naples to 1-1 in the round-robin portion of the tournament, which ends on Wednesday. On Thursday, the top four teams begin the winner-take-all semifinals.
The tournament concludes Friday.
The rout did nothing to dampen the spirits of the two dozen or so parents who formed the entire crowd for these games, which were played in breezy sunshine.
“It’s such a great experience for these kids,” said Amy Fatora, whose 12-year-old daughter Joni plays second base and outfield for Naples. “To come overseas and have an opportunity like this is great. It’s a chance for them to make a great memory.”
Spain 12, Belgium 6: Spain evened its record (1-1) as Paul Boerema went the distance. Boerema yielded nine hits and struck out four.
“It was hard, but fun,” said Boerema, 12, who will be playing baseball next year in Puerto Rico after his airline-employee father transfers.
Boerma doubled and scored twice, but his clutch pitching was the key. Boerma said he got the job done on three pitches.
“I have three fastballs,” he said, adding with a shrug, “I guess they have some movement.”
Kevin Nelson, the Brussels American seventh-grader, started and took the loss for Belgium. He gave up 10 runs, nine earned, walked three batters and hit three.
After two days of play, Saudi Arabia (2-0) and London (1-0) are unbeaten. Italy, Spain and Belgium are 1-1, and Ramstein (0-1) and Netherlands (0-2) are winless. Saturday’s schedule has Naples-London leading off, followed by Ramstein-Netherlands and Saudi Arabia-Spain.
London 19, Netherlands 5: The spell of sunny, breezy 80-degree weather was broken during Friday’s third game.
With the score tied at five in the fifth inning and two London runners on, play was stopped for 35 minutes to let a fast-moving electrical storm pass.
When play resumed, London had captured the lightning, striking for 14 runs.
The biggest blows of the inning came off the bat of third baseman Josh Halvorsen, who doubled and singled during the onslaught and drove in four runs.
“They were right down the gut, about medium fast,” said Halvorsen, 12, who attends American Community School-Edgham. “I just drove them.”
Trailing 5-0, the Netherlands tied the game in the third inning after Brenda Broadwater’s one-out walk ignited a rally fueled by three London errors and an RBI single by Grant Miller. Netherlands starter Tyler Broome shut London down thereafter until he lost his stuff during the storm delay.
No game for Ramstein: Because of the seven-team field created when Austria pulled out, Ramstein was idle on Thursday, to the disappointment of some of its players.
“I’d like to play every day,” said Ramstein’s Tyler Jarvis, the only 11-year-old on the team.
Still, he and his teammates are enjoying their experience.
“The fields are awesome,” said Jarvis. “That grass is so smooth.”
So are the living conditions, in air-conditioned dorms.
“We’re having a good time,” said pitcher-first baseman Chris Johnson. “We ride a bus into town and eat pizza and play in the dorms. It’s fun.”