Anderson does his best Cal impression

Mo. player echoes Hall of Famer's demeanor, skills

Ripken World Series

August 14, 2007|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN REPORTER

Tyler Anderson of Sikeston, Mo., is not your normal 12-year-old baseball player.

Anderson is an outstanding hitter who plays the way Cal Ripken Jr. did - with little emotion but a lot of consistency. He also is an "A" student who loves math and science, and is a quiet leader.

Yesterday, at Memorial Field in Aberdeen at the Cal Ripken 12-and-under World Series, Anderson led his team to victory with both his pitching and hitting. His second home run of the game in the eighth inning gave Sikeston its first win after two losses, an 8-7 victory over Lexington, Ky. (2-1).

Anderson, who made a couple of outstanding plays at shortstop in the early innings, pitched the last three innings, including a difficult sixth, to get the win.

Sikeston had a 7-0 lead through four innings and was up 7-3 going into the bottom of the sixth when Lexington got to Anderson for four runs, tying the game on a bloop double by Evan Fraliex.

Lexington had the bases loaded with two outs, but Anderson struck out the final batter to force extra innings.

After both teams failed to score in the seventh, Anderson drilled a two-out, opposite-field homer to right in the top of the eighth for the winning run.

Ryan Bale singled off Anderson with two outs in the bottom half and stole second, but Anderson retired Brandt Redmon on a flyout to short right field for the final out.

Lexington outhit Sikeston 15-9 but left 10 on base.

"The pitch I hit for the winning homer was a pitch I would normally pull, but I looked to go the other way and it got out," the soft-spoken Anderson said.

"I like shortstop better than pitching, but when my team needs me to pitch, I'm glad to do it."

Anderson hit eight homers during the regular season and five in the regional tournament to take Most Valuable Player honors. With three homers in this tournament, he has 16 this summer but is humble about his accomplishments.

"Tyler loves life, is not a showboater and is kind of a quiet leader," Anderson's coach and father, Rod Anderson, said.

"He gets along with everybody. His best sport was soccer, but he doesn't play it anymore. He went out for football before we came here, but decided he didn't want to play because he wants to work on batting left-handed and become a switch-hitter."

Tyler Anderson, who turns 13 on Sept. 9, has been influenced by Los Angeles Dodgers farmhand Blake DeWitt, a Missouri native who was a first-round draft pick in 2004. DeWitt has been encouraging Anderson to switch-hit, according to Rod Anderson.

"Tyler is committed to doing it, and when he puts his mind to something, he usually gets it done," Rod Anderson said. "And there is no doubt that it will increase his opportunities as a player."

Notes -- Japan (1-1) got its first win, 11-4, over the Republic of Korea (1-1) as Yunosuke Nakamura homered over the 24-foot "Green Monster" in left at the Fenway Park field. ... Emmorton (1-1) will attempt to become the first Harford County team to win two games in the five years the series has been played in Aberdeen when it faces College Point, N.Y. (0-2) at 10 a.m. today at Cal Sr.'s Yard.pat.omalley@baltsun.com

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