Wash. team rallies to pass Preston, 8-3

Md. club sees 3-0 lead vanish

Texas is next test

August 23, 2004|By Ben Brigandi | Ben Brigandi,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - Amy Bennett called Williamsport a "metropolis" last week upon arriving for the Little League World Series.

Bennett, mother of Preston, Md., second baseman Hunter Bennett, now knows her son's team needs a win tomorrow in its pool play finale to help hopes of staying in this central Pennsylvania city of 50,000 a few more days.

Preston lost, 8-3, to Redmond, Wash., in pool play last night at Lamade Stadium.

Redmond's Stephen Thompson hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning for a 6-3 lead, one pitch after Preston pitcher Robbie Payne dropped a foul pop-up in front of the first base dugout.

"Robbie started the game with good zip, but he couldn't get another strong inning," said Preston manager Curtis Payne. "The first inning he looked good, but after that they ripped it."

The five-run fifth-inning rally started when Nick Rubideaux singled home Cameron Sandquist. Michael Canforto also scored on the play when center fielder Davonta DeShields' throw went awry.

Sandquist prevented a Preston rally in the bottom half from shortstop when he threw out Payne on a grounder deep in the hole.

Preston had taken a 2-0 second-inning lead when Ben LaNeve doubled home Chad Hicks, then scored on throwing errors from Redmond right fielder Kyle Henselman and first baseman Colin Porter.

Hicks doubled home Bennett for a 3-0 lead in the third inning, but the threat ended when Redmond caught courtesy runner Thomas Howe in a rundown between third and home.

Henselman scored Redmond's first run with a fourth-inning leadoff home run to right field.

Preston prevented extra damage in the inning as Bennett made an over-the-shoulder grab on a liner into the oufield and stopped a grounder deep in the hole. Hicks retired the side when he stopped a blooper over pitcher Payne's head.

Redmond tacked on two sixth-inning runs when Canforto doubled home Kelby McCorkle and scored on a Colin Porter single.

Hicks' attempt to spark a sixth-inning rally died when Canforto caught his leadoff fly ball on the run at the warning track.

"That was an excellent catch," said Curtis Payne. "He didn't stop when he got to the warning track. I have a lot of respect for that kid."

Preston, a town of 600 about 90 minutes east of Baltimore, has today off before meeting Richmond, Texas, tomorrow at 3 p.m. on ESPN.

Richmond leads the Pool B standings with a 2-0 record, while Preston and Redmond are 1-1. Redmond meets Owensboro, Ky. (0-2) tomorrow night.

The top two teams advance to elimination play, which begins Wednesday.

In the event of a three-team tiebreaker, Little League uses a ratio of runs allowed vs. defensive innings played as the primary tiebreaker, with head-to-head to settle the second-place team.

"I think we're still in it," said Curtis Payne, who will throw ace DeShields tomorrow. "We don't have a strong offensive team. We need to keep the scoring down. Someone puts eight-nine runs on us we're going to struggle keeping up."

Redmond, Wash. 000 152 - 8 9 3

Preston 021 000 - 3 3 1

W-Keiran Beaton, L-Robbie Payne, Brady Hare (6) 2B - Chad Hicks. HR - Kyle Henselman, Stephen Thompson.

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