Arkansas, Hawaii to meet in U.S. final

Cal Ripken World Series


Two extra-inning games started yesterday's Cal Ripken 12-and-under World Series semifinals in Aberdeen.

The Dominican Republic took a 7-6 decision over Australia in seven innings, followed by a 4-3 victory in eight innings by Bryant, Ark., over previously unbeaten Southeastern Lexington, Ky.

Mexico defeated Canada, 3-0, and will face the Dominican Republic in today's 4 p.m. International final.

Bryant will face Hilo, Hawaii, a 7-3 winner over Satsuma, Ala., at 6:35 tonight in the U.S. championship game.

The winners of today's games will meet at 5 p.m. tomorrow for the series crown, with all games held at Cal Sr.'s Yard and televised live on OLN.

Defending champion Hawaii overcame an early 3-1 deficit, scoring three times in the bottom of the third and adding a run in the fourth and two more in the fifth.

Kawika Pruett relieved in the first inning and shut down Satsuma over five innings, giving up one hit and no runs and striking out nine.

Landon Pickett hit a booming home run onto a tent on the hill behind the left-center-field wall, an estimated 270 feet, with one out in the top of the eighth to give Bryant a 4-3 lead. The shot off Ryne Combs was Pickett's first hit of the series and proved to be the game-winner.

"I might have hit one that far in the regionals," said Pickett, who was the winning pitcher in relief of ace Blake Davidson. Pickett threw two scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out four, including the final batter with runners on second and third.

In the first game of the day, Victor Pena lined a single into center field with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to lift the Dominican Republic to a 7-6 victory over Australia and into today's International final with perennial contender Mexico.

Manual Pappaterra had doubled off Nathan Hass, the third Australian pitcher, and scored the winning run.

"I felt very proud to get the winning hit on this field," Pena said through interpreter Hector Mejias, whose younger brother, Marcos Mejias, got the win in relief and had three hits, three RBIs and two runs scored.

Pena, the third baseman, also made a stellar defensive play in the top of the seventh to keep the score tied.

Marcos Mejias came in to pitch that inning and got into a jam by walking a batter and giving up a single.

Luke Papanicolaou then ripped a shot toward third that a drawn-up Pena backhanded and turned into a double play by touching third and firing across the diamond.

Finney said left-hander Jackson Lodge, his starting pitcher, lost his edge after being struck on the forearm by a liner in the second inning. With Australia leading 4-0, the Dominicans got to Lodge for three runs in the third, highlighted by Mejias' two-run triple.

Lodge walked the first batter in the fourth and was replaced by Luke Shipway, who gave up three runs in the fifth, including a game-tying double by Mejias.

Mexico, last year's runner-up after winning two straight titles, advanced to its fourth consecutive International final with a 3-0 win over Canada. Edson Blanco pitched a two--hitter with nine strikeouts, including striking out the side to end it.

Blanco was aided by outstanding defensive play from first baseman Aldo Zamora and third baseman Ray Gutierrez. A two-run triple by Marcos Almonte broke the game open in the fourth.

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