Some teams expect to win in the big games. Mexico is one of those teams.
Behind the pitching and hitting of Nestor Lopez Zamora, Mexico coasted to a 13-2 victory over Hilo, Hawaii, yesterday to win the Cal Ripken World Series for 12-year-olds. The game was played in Aberdeen before 5,561 at Ripken Stadium and a national TV audience.
Zamora's pitching and hitting were key for Mexico, which broke the game open with a seven-run fourth inning sparked by Zamora's two-run homer off Jeremy Crivello.
The World Series title was the second this summer for Zamora and eight others who helped Mexico win the International Baseball Association 11-12 world championship in Japan in July.
There was a celebration when the game ended with Zamora striking out Crivello, but there was no mound of players piling on each or a bucket of water dumped on the coach.
The Mexico host parents and fans, who sang Happy Birthday to former Orioles great Cal Ripken in the last inning, actually celebrated more behind the third base dugout than their businesslike young team.
"We're very happy, and this was a beautiful experience, but we don't overdo it," said Zamora, who won Most Valuable Player honors for the title game to go with his MVP trophy for the International division.
"This is going to be the best tournament in the United States, and to have Cal Ripken, my favorite player, congratulating me and my teammates after the game - wow!
"My second parents [host family Bob and Olga Perkins] were here today and my other parents watched on TV back home. My uncle said he was going to tape it for me."
Zamora, who pitched Mexico to a 3-1 win over Canada on Thursday, relieved Jose Sillas Alcaraz in the second inning with no score, the bases loaded and two out. He got Aaron Soong, who later homered, to bounce back to him to end the threat.
In the fourth inning, after Alan Ortiz doubled, Zamora broke the ice with a booming home run to left-center. Before the inning was over, Mexico had a 7-0 lead.
Alcaraz tripled in the crucial inning and hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning to finish 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBIs in a victory he said "means everything to me."
On Saturday, after his team defeated Australia, 8-1 in the International final, Zamora said he was "confident and, yes, we expect to win [the title]."
Zamora made sure of it, pitching 4 1/3 innings of relief and striking out 10 for his third win in the series. At the plate, he was 3-for-4 with the home run, his third of the tournament.
"That one pitch changed the game," Hilo manager Kaha Wong said. "Jeremy left his knuckle-curve up, and Zamora crushed it."
Sun staff writer Chris Bowen contributed to this article.