One more win could put Kennett, Unionville players in World Series semi-finals
BANGOR, Maine — Numbers could tell the story of the Little League Senior Division Eastern Regional Champions’–formerly known as the KAU Little League Kings–11-1, five-inning victory over the European and Africa Champions from the Emilia Little League of Italy during the second day of pool play at the World Series in Bangor, Maine.
But behind the numbers from Monday’s game were more ingredients needed for top-notch baseball: timely hitting, consistent pitching and reliable defense. And for the team formerly known as the KAU Kings, a different player always seems to be making a crucial play when the Easterrn Regional Champions need one.
As for the numbers, the Eastern champions batted around three times and scored nine runs in the first three innings, while banging out 15 hits in a game that lasted only 1 hour and 45 minutes. Leadoff hitter Drew Jarmuz continued to drive the East’s lineup from the top, going 4-for-4 with three runs scored. A quartet of hitters in the middle of the lineup followed Jarmuz’s lead. Eric Duerr hit two doubles in four at-bats, batted in four runs and scored two more. Tucker Reese had a perfect 3-for-3 day and scored a run while Andrew Jone went 3-for-4 with four RBI.
Starting pitcher Alex Pechin and reliever Ryan Barrett combined on a two-hitter gave up Italy’s lone run in the top of the fifth inning.
“In our [first] game against Texas, the middle and bottom of the lineup carried us,” said Coach Mike Pechin. “Today against Italy it was the top of the lineup. We are hitting the seams off the ball. And our pitching has been phenomenal over both games. I think our pitchers just befuddled the Italians. The score really doesn’t reflect how competitive the Italian team is, but I think at some point they knew it would be difficult to hit against our pitchers. “
Starting pitcher Alex Pechin and reliever Ryan Barrett recorded some impressive numbers of their own as they combined on a two-hitter, facing only two batters over the minimum for a five-inning game. Barrett gave up Italy’s lone run in the top of the fifth inning. The East coaches—like the coaches for the rest of the teams—are trying to conserve their pitching.
“We want to make sure we get an out on every play and cut down on a big inning for any team,” Mike Pechin said. “There’s always someone different who makes a play that reinvigorates the team.” Coach Pechin singled out third baseman Tucker Reese and catcher Eric Duerr for those energy-infusing plays against the Italian squad. In the top of the 3rd, Reese charged a softly hit ground ball and whipped the ball to first baseman Andrew Jones just nip Italy’s baserunner. In the top of the 5th with runners for the Europe and Africa champions at first and second base, Duerr laid out in a spread-eagle dive to snag a foul ball in front of the East’s first base dugout.
The coaches said they were concerned about the 10 a.m. start time for Monday’s game.
“We thought the team might be lethargic, and they were quiet when they got to the field,” Mike Pechin said. “We were concerned. But their attitude turned out to be the quiet confidence we’ve been preaching to them about since we began districts. “
The Eastern champs will have the luxury of more than a full day off before their game against the U.S. Central champion from Clear Ridge Little League in Chicago, Tuesday at 5 p.m.
While the coaches will attend the Clear Ridge tonight, Pechin said the team will have time to spend with their families. Nearly three-quarters of the team already has family—including six sets of grandparents—in Bangor, with more expected to arrive depending on how deep the team goes in to the tournament. Pechin also pointed out that the young men have been eyeing up a waterpark behind leftfield and are expected to spend some time there. “This will be a night where the team can stay up late and sleep in tomorrow. They do have a curfew, but who knows what time they really fall asleep? Now that we’ve been here a few days, the excitement has been somewhat replaced by a quiet confidence
EAST (KAU Kings) 11, European and Africa (Emilia Little League of Italy) 1
Play by play:
Bottom 1st inning
Drew Jarmuz leadoff single
Eric Duerr doubles to score jarmuz
Tucker Reese HBP
Andrew Jones singled to load bases
Duerr scored n a fielder’s choice
Reese scored on a single to leftfield by designated hitter Dan Garver
Bottom 2nd inning
Jarmuz led off with single to shortstop. With two out, Reese singled to leftfield to score Jarmuz
Bottom 3rd inning
Eric Takoushian led off hit by pitch
Jarmuz singled to load bases
Alex Pechin hit a single that the shortstop couldn’t handle to score one run
Duerr hit his second double of the game to left field to give the East a 9-0 lead
Bottom 5th inning (needed to score 2 runs to end the game by 10-run mercy rule)
Joe Zirolli walked
Reese singled to centerfield and was pinch run for by Jonathan Burns
Zirolli and Burns both moved up base on a wild pitch
Jones hit a line drive to centerfield to score Zirolli
Burns scored on a wild pitch for 11-1 final and 10-run difference