Preston beaten, but still advances

Late run costs Owensboro Little League semi berth

Youth Baseball

August 25, 2004|By Chris Masse | Chris Masse,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - Owensboro, Ky., was one pitch away from advancing to the U.S. semifinals in the Little League World Series last night, but couldn't get it done, allowing Preston, Md., to move on.

Owensboro's Cole Sturgeon pitched a complete game with 15 strikeouts as Owensboro posted a 3-2 victory over Redmond, Wash., but his 0-2 pitch to Colin Porter with two outs in the sixth inning was deposited into the stands for a bases-empty homer.

To advance in the playoffs, Owensboro needed to hold Redmond to one run because of a tiebreaker formula based on runs allowed per inning.

Preston lost, 13-1, to Richmond, Texas, but, as it turned out, wasn't hurt by the rout.

After shutting down opponents throughout the summer, pitcher Davonta DeShields was unable to stifle the powerful Richmond offense as the Southwest champions scored six runs in the first three innings and cruised to the win.

Preston, Owensboro and Redmond all finished with 1-2 records, but because Preston had the best ratio of runs allowed per inning, it earned a spot in tomorrow's semifinal against Pool A first-place finisher Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Richmond (3-0) built a 6-1 third-inning lead, added seven runs in the sixth and clinched first place in Pool B. Richmond will play Morganton, N.C., at 8 tonight in the semifinals.

Richmond scored 43 runs and had 40 hits in its three pool play wins to earn a second straight semifinal appearance.

"Everybody does something," Richmond manager Jim Michalek said. "These are good players. They are used to contributing somehow, some way, and I think they did it again."

DeShields pitched a complete-game three-hitter in Saturday's 7-2 win over Kentucky and had allowed just nine hits in his last 24 innings pitched, dating to the Mid-Atlantic regional.

The hard-throwing right-hander, though, struggled against Richmond, surrendering eight hits and allowing 10 runs in 5 1/3 innings.

He was replaced by Thomas Howe in the sixth after hitting three of the inning's first five batters.

"I think he was just trying to reach back and throw a little bit harder than even he can throw," Preston manager Curtis Payne said. "He pitched very well. The last inning it just kind of came apart."

Richmond pitcher Matt Daniels allowed his first earned run in 13 innings in the first inning when DeShields hit a one-out home run. Daniels threw a complete-game two-hitter and struck out 12.

Richmond 303 007 - 13 12 0

Preston 100 000 - 1 2 1

Matt Daniels and Daniel Homann. Davonta DeShields, Thomas Howe (6), Ben LaNeve (6) and Brady Hare.

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