Mexico, Hawaii in rematch for title

U.S. team looking to repeat as champ

Cal Ripken World Series


The rematch many wanted, especially Mexico, is on.

Mexico rode the arm of righthander Ray Gutierrez to a 2-1 victory over the Dominican Republic in the international championship game of the Cal Ripken 12-and-under World Series in Aberdeen yesterday.

Mexico will make its fourth consecutive appearance in the World Series final at 5:05 today at Cal Sr.'s Yard against the U.S. champion Hawaii - which edged Mexico, 1-0, last year. The game will be televised live on OLN.

Mexico was a back-to-back champion in 2003 and 2004 and runner-up to Hawaii last year after edging the Dominican Republic last year in a game very similar to yesterday's.

"We lost, 1-0, last year on a passed ball," said Dominican interpreter and coach Hector Mejias, who played for the Dominicans in 2003.

Mexico scored two runs on a wild pitch in the bottom of the second when Dominican catcherJazhiel Morel couldn't find a pitch from Manual Pappaterra in the dirt after it rolled to the first-base side of the backstop.

Jose Ceballos and Gutierrez, who had walked and doubled, scored.

Pappaterra scored the Dominican run in the top of the fourth on a passed ball after doubling off the wall in left and advancing to third on a wild pitch.

Dominican manager Cristian Pimentel tried three pinch hitters in the fifth but to no avail as Gutierrez retired them in order with a strikeout and two ground balls.

Gutierrez, one of five returnees from last year's team, allowed six hits, struck out 10 and did notwalk a batter.

"I pitched well because of the support my team and defense gave me," said Gutierrez through interpreter/coach Anwar Perez.

"I threw mostly fastballs, used some curves. I wanted us to be here. We want a rematch with Hawaii."

U.S. championship

Ridge Hoopi-Haslam pitched and batted defending champion Hawaii back into the series final with an 8-1 victory over Bryant, Ark., in the U.S. championship game.

Hoopi-Haslam's mother, Carrie Hoopi, was there to see her son's effort. She lost her job as a bank teller when she told her boss after the team qualified for the series that she was going to Aberdeen.

"I wanted to be with my son," Hoopi said. "It's been worth it and tonight made it all worthwhile to be here with him when he had such a great game."

A three-run, 280-foot homer to left by Hoopi-Haslam was the big blow in a decisive six-run third inning for Hawaii. Ripken officials said it was the longest hit at Cal Sr.'s Yard.

Hoopi-Haslam went to the mound in the second inning after Ekolu Martins gave up a f irst-inning run to Bryant. Hoopi-Haslam worked the last five innings striking out 10, including seven in a row at one stretch, and giving up just one hit and no runs.

The only threat Arkansas mounted was in the fourth when they loaded the bases with two outs. Tyler Nelson lined a shot back at the mound and Hoopi-Haslam grabbed it with his right hand to end the inning.

"I'm glad I came through for my team and my mom in the championship," Hoopi-Haslam said. ][ ]

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