Boys from Oregon top Illinois in semis

August 24th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Boys from Oregon top Illinois in semis
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Second baseman Sam Albert is as calm as they come, offering an expression after a home run seemingly interchangeable with his reaction to a strikeout.

But after first baseman Jace Fry had just scooped Albert's throw in the dirt from second to give Beaverton, Ore., a gripping 4-3 comeback win over Lemont, Ill., on Wednesday night in the semifinals of the Little League World Series, he was finally able to let himself go.
The second baseman exuberantly leaped and forcefully pumped his fist. Beaverton was heading to the Little League World Series U.S Finals, and it was largely because of his heroics on this most chaotic of nights.
"I think everybody smiled a lot today," Albert said.
"It's an amazing feeling," Oregon manager Jeff Keller said.
The defining sequence came with the game knotted at two in the top of the sixth inning. Albert led off the frame with a liner off the second baseman's glove into center field. Catching Illinois completely off-guard, Albert turned the hit into a double and moved to third on a wild pitch.
With one out, Devon DeJardin was then given the bunt signal. Unable to even remember his last bunt, he was now being called upon to lay down a suicide squeeze in perhaps the most intense baseball situation DeJardin will ever confront.

"So I was kind of nervous," he said, smiling.
The bunt rolled a few feet in front of the plate, enough distance to give Albert time to beat the hurried throw of Illinois pitcher David Hearne and evade the tag of catcher Zack Soria with what proved to be the winning run.
After DeJardin eventually came around to score to put Oregon ahead, 4-2, a simple ending just would not have done this night justice. With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, DeJardin, called upon in the fifth to replace starter Derek Keller, walked a pair and hit a batter to load the bases. A wild pitch brought Illinois within one and put the go-ahead run at second base before that extraordinary final play.
Illinois' Michael Hall grounded a ball that seemed headed into center field until it was stabbed by Albert, who pivoted and made a throw that skipped into the Fry's glove. The throw just beat Hall, who crumpled to the dirt in disappointment. For as much joy as the play brought Oregon, it was matched by the despair felt by Illinois.
Illinois manager Mike Hall was in tears for most of his postgame press conference, most plainly when discussing the conversation he had with his distraught son in the moments following the game.
"He said, 'Dad, I'm sorry,'" Hall said. "He's got nothing to be sorry about."
Their downfall on Wednesday was familiar, as a tournament-long lack of production on offense finally caught up with the Illinois players. Coming into Wednesday's game with just five hits over its first three games, Illinois was no-hit on Monday. Its three runs scored over two innings could be accounted for by five walks, a pair of hit batsmen, three wild pitches and a shallow sacrifice fly.
"It's amazing to me," Hall said. "I can't believe how difficult runs were to get in the tournament here. I've got a new respect for the teams in Williamsport. [Coming here], it was like, 'Hey, with our sticks, we can come out here and be hitting home runs all over the place.' I don't think we even had an extra base hit in the whole tournament."
The story of the game, though, was undeniably Albert. He began the night with a run-scoring double accompanied by an error that allowed him to score, erasing a 2-0 deficit. He also scored the winning run, sending the team into a celebratory frenzy.
Another comeback win the Beaverton team prides itself on was complete. "I hate to say it's not surprising anymore, but it really isn't," Keller said. "It's almost like I don't expect anything different. Not necessarily to win, but to never quit and never give up. You can't ask for anything more."
August 24th, 2006  
Chief Bones
I have been following the Little League World Series and there are some real good players in this years games.

There is a pitcher named Barrios (from one of the Latin American countries), who is throwing a fastball at speeds in excess of 77 miles per hour ... that is like a big league player tossing the ball at 99 mph. Barrios' fastball was just as fast in the sixth inning as it was during the first inning. I look for this young man to get better and possibly end up playing for the majors.

Remember "BARRIOS" ... look for his name.

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