Rota team bounces back to edge Austria in Little League playoffs
Rota Little League bounced back from an opening loss by defeating Austria 9-8 Wednesday in the European Regional Tournament’s Trans-Atlantic playoffs in Kutno, Poland.
Rota trailed 6-0 before scoring nine times in the bottom of the second inning. Austria pulled back to within a run before Rota pitcher Eldwin Aquino retired Austria in the sixth and final inning with two runners on base.
Aquino, a left-hander, came on in the second inning and held the Austrians to three runs in the last five innings.
Rota lost 4-0 to Ramstein, Germany, in Tuesday’s opener. Its victory Wednesday gives it a 1-1 record in the seven-game preliminary round. The top four teams will advance to the semifinals on July 22. The Trans-Atlantic champion will advance with 15 other teams to the Little League World Series Aug. 15-24 in Williamsport, Pa.
In other Wednesday games, Belgium — composed of players from SHAPE and Waterloo — won its second in a row by defeating Ramstein 4-0. The Netherlands played pre-tournament favorite Saudi Arabia, and London, England, took on Naples, Italy, in late games.
Kyle Walker went 4-for-4 for Rota while Chad Bryan and Zach Saunders each went 3-for-4.
“The guys were really nervous coming into [Tuesday’s] game,” said Rota’s coach, Chief Petty Officer Gene Bryan.
“They made several fielding mistakes and they had a home run on us.
“Our guys were very down and feeling sorry for themselves, but we pumped them up last night. This morning they acted a little sleepy but once we got to the field they turned it on.”
Rota plays undefeated Belgium on Thursday.
For Naples Little League, coach Dwight Smalls said his team wasn’t down despite losing 11-1 Tuesday to Saudi Arabia.
“They [Saudi Arabia] are always tough,” Smalls said.
“If you hit the ball they’re going to pick it up and throw you out. They’re not going to make a mistake.
“The box score doesn’t say so, but if you saw the game we didn’t lose the game until the fourth inning. Our kids are not dejected. They still know we’ve got a chance to compete if we play them again.”