Jarrett Arakawa of Oahu, Hawaii, has revealed the secret to his pitching the gem of the Cal Ripken World Series thus far in Aberdeen.
"I always sprinkle a little Hawaiian salt on my pitching hand before I go out there," said Arakawa, a left-hander. "It's good luck."
After salting up with the legal substance, Arakawa went out Sunday and pitched a three-hitter with a tournament-high 13 strikeouts and no walks in a 1-0 victory over Pine Bluff, Ark.
Arakawa struck out his first six batters and got the win when his team scored off Claude Johnson in the bottom of the sixth.
"I knew my team would get me a run," said Arakawa, who hasn't lost in state, regional and World Series play by pinpointing his two- and four-seam fastballs and fast-breaking downer curve.
"We've pulled out games like this before."
Oahu knocked off last year's Hawaii representative, Hilo, in state play, with Arakawa pitching one of his team's two shutouts.
Arakawa and his mates were off yesterday and play the first game today at 9 a.m. against Kennewick, Wash.
Three in a row
Four homers, two by Ricardo Benavides, led defending champion Mexico City to a 12-1 romp over Canada in a four-inning game by virtue of the mercy rule. It was Mexico City's third win in a row and left Canada 1-1.
Michael Alvarez and David Salgueiro, who also had a triple, hit the other homers.
"They could really hit the ball and are very disciplined," said Canada coach John Higgs, who took blame for the loss. "I take it upon myself for our kids not being better prepared. Our boys were in shock after the first inning."
Salgueiro's homer in a four-run first set the tone.
Mexico City has off today and can complete the round robin 4-0 for a second straight year with a win tomorrow against Australia (1-1) at 3 p.m.
Australia lost, 2-1, to the Dominican Republic (1-1) in eight innings in yesterday's first game.
That was followed by another one-run game as Montgomery, N.J., edged Waite Park, Minn., 3-2, with two runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Winning pitcher John Scott doubled in the tying run and scored the winning run on Mike Ford's single.
Minnesota Twins center fielder Torii Hunter paid the expenses of the families of his hometown team, Pine Bluff.
"I wanted to help the kids," Hunter told Ripken Baseball. "I used to be a youth player and remember how great it was to play in events like this. The kids are the future of the game."
Another act of kindness has come from the series umpires, who are working for free.
Orioles pitcher Rodrigo Lopez threw out the first pitch for Mexico City's game yesterday, as he did last year. ... Cal Ripken has been spotted in the stands signing autographs.