Raleigh gains Ripken final, 8-1

Mexico City will be foe after Oahu gets soaked

Youth Baseball

August 22, 2004|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

When it started raining just before the scheduled start of yesterday's U.S. championship game in the Cal Ripken 12-and-Under World Series in Aberdeen, Raleigh, N.C., had reason to believe it was an omen in its favor.

And, indeed, Raleigh won easily, 8-1, over defending U.S. champion Oahu, Hawaii, after a nearly one-hour delay.

It had rained before Raleigh's district and state championship games, and there was a two-hour delay before the start of its 11-1 Southeast Region final romp over Virginia in Lakeland, Fla., that qualified the team for Aberdeen.

It was as if a starter's pistol had been fired once the game started yesterday. Raleigh scored six runs in the first inning. Sparkplug Sean Murphy opened the game with a single and, later, Devon McAlister delivered a bases-clearing double.

Oahu never recovered, and Raleigh gained the World Series final against defending champion Mexico City, a 7-0 winner over the Republic of Korea in the international final.

The final is scheduled for 4 p.m. today and will be shown live on Comcast SportsNet.

McAlister, who pitched four innings the night before in Raleigh's 5-4 win over Greenwich, Conn., and Michael King combined to make sure Hawaii did not get back in the game.

King, who worked the final two innings in the Greenwich game, went four scoreless innings yesterday after McAlister gave up three hits and a run in his two innings.

King credited his team's defense, saying, "They've played great all season."

Raleigh shortstop David Hamm made a diving stop to his left and threw the batter out, and third baseman Chris Christopoulos started a 5-4-3 double play in Hawaii's fourth inning.

"We love it when it rains before a championship game," said Raleigh manager Danny Poole, who said he would be searching for a witch doctor to bring rain to Ripken Stadium one more time.

"But no matter what happens, I want to thank these 12 kids from the bottom of my heart because nobody expected us to do anything back home or here."

Mexico City 7, Korea 0: Mexico City's Michael Alvarez overwhelmed the Republic of Korea yesterday, pitching a no-hitter with 11 strikeouts and no walks in the international final.

Alvarez is 2-0 in the series with 27 strikeouts and no walks in 12 innings. He has yielded only one hit.

"It was the first no-hitter of my life," said Alvarez through his interpreter and pitching coach, Othon Corona, who pitches for Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles.

"I'm ready to go [today] if they need me. I'll never be 12 again, so I really want to win and keep the championship in Mexico."

There are no pitching restrictions for the final, so Alvarez could throw all six innings today, but Corona said the team will likely start Ivan Tinoco.

The closest thing to a hit by Korea came when Mexico City center fielder Felipe Hernandez fielded an apparent single, but fired to first base for the final out of the second inning.

A five-run fourth featured Mexico City hitting for the cycle - single, double, two triples and a homer. Catcher David Salgueiro hit a run-scoring triple in his team's big fourth inning and finished with three hits and three RBIs.

Ricardo Bravo tripled in a run, and Ricardo Benavides hit a two-run homer.

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