Mexico wins Ripken for 2nd straight year

With Hernandez doing it all, West Raleigh falls, 4-3

Youth Baseball

August 23, 2004|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Felipe Hernandez overslept yesterday, missed breakfast and ate a few burritos when he got to Ripken Stadium for the Cal Ripken World Series championship game.

The Mexican center fielder hungered for more, and he and his team left most satisfied. Hernandez singled in the winning run in the top of the sixth inning, as Mexico City rallied to defeat West Raleigh, N.C., 4-3, and repeat as champion of the Babe Ruth League 12-and-Under division in Aberdeen.

In front of a crowd estimated at just over 5,000, the final typified the entire series that featured 12 of 37 games decided by one run.

"I didn't eat breakfast because I was asleep, was really tired," said Hernandez, who spoke through interpreter Laura Corona, the sister of Mexico City's pitching coach, Othon Corona.

"It feels very good to win in my first time here, and I was able to show the kind of player I am."

Hernandez, who finished 2-for-3, also scored two runs and threw out a runner at home.

After Raleigh took a 3-2 lead in the fifth on a throwing error by standout catcher David Salgueiro that scored two runs, Mexico City responded with two of its own the next inning.

"I'm glad we came back to win it, because I was concerned about not losing as much as I was about David feeling bad and thinking he lost the game," said Mexico City manager Bernardo Tapia, whose team went 14-0 over the past two Cal Ripken World Series.

Ricardo Benavides started the Mexico City sixth with a triple as West Raleigh right fielder Stefan Guy just missed a shoestring catch in right.

An infield hit by pinch hitter Jose Jarquin tied the score at 3. Jarquin later scored on a single to center by Hernandez.

"We were just three outs away; it's tough to take," said Michael King, who was fighting back tears after scattering nine hits and bearing down to escape serious damage.

Gustavo Dominguez, who got the win in 1 2/3 innings of relief, retired West Raleigh in order in the sixth.

"Our defense was not as good as it had been," said Raleigh manager Danny Poole. "But our kids played a very good team tight, and we're very proud of them."

Hernandez led off the game with a triple to right off King, who pitched 12 innings over the past three days for West Raleigh. That stretch included all six yesterday and four scoreless innings of one-hit ball in an 8-1 upset of Oahu, Hawaii, on Saturday in the U.S. final.

Manuel Mancilla lifted a fly ball to center to score Hernandez for a 1-0 lead for Mexico City. Hernandez just scored ahead of the throw by center fielder Sean Murphy, who was 3-for-3 with a triple yesterday and batted .650 (13-for-20) in the series.

Murphy's throw home was in time but a tad up the line, and catcher Matt Nusbaum lost the ball on the sweep tag.

Murphy doubled to lead off the West Raleigh third and moved to third on a wild pitch. But he was thrown out at home by Hernandez.

"Those were the best two throws I've ever made," said Hernandez, who threw out a runner at first in Saturday's 7-0 victory in the International final over South Korea.

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