Curacao, Calif., advance at Little League WS (2024)

First Posted: 8/20/2012

(AP) Danny Marzo was thinking about his manager’s advice as he walked to the plate in the eighth inning: Concentrate on making a good swing, not hitting a home run.


He listened and went deep anyway for one memorable game-ending shot.


The 12-year-old Marzo drove a breaking ball to the grassy hill beyond the right-field wall to help Petaluma, Calif., advance in the Little League World Series with a 5-4 victory over Parsippany, N.J., on Monday.


Manager Eric Smith “told me you can’t go up there thinking walk-off home run,” Marzo said. “You have to be thinking base hit. A walk-off comes off a good base-hit swing.”


Marzo’s giddy teammates started lining up around the plate to pat him on his helmet before he even reached second. Their frantic fans started chanting “Petaluma!”


The skipper’s son, 13-year-old shortstop Hance Smith, knew the ball was headed out when he saw Marzo’s swing.


“I didn’t really (see the ball) leave the park,” Hance Smith said with a smile. “I just came out to greet him.”


Curacao also packed a punch Monday, scoring three times in the fifth inning to rally for a 4-3 victory over Canada in an elimination game. Mychellon Jansen’s solo homer provided the go-ahead run.


Also, Mexico edged Taiwan, 4-3, and Nebraska will return home with a win after scoring 15 runs in the second inning of a 17-1 victory over Ramstein, Germany in a consolation game. The 15 runs were a World Series record for one inning.


Canada, New Jersey and Taiwan were eliminated. Indiana and Connecticut played the nightcap, with the winner facing California on Tuesday night.


Parsippany pushed across two runs in the sixth to tie it at 4. Emil Matti homered and David Ton had an RBI single.


California’s Logan Douglas struck out four in 2 1-3 scoreless innings to set up Marzo’s winning homer. Smith went 2 for 3 with a two-run single in the fourth.


Petaluma’s victory sparked a celebration in Oakland’s clubhouse before a night game against Minnesota. Third baseman Brandon Inge planted a whipped cream pie on teammate Jonny Gomes after the Athletics watched Marzo’s big hit. Gomes, who’s from Petaluma, proudly wore a Petaluma Little League T-shirt.


The California kids have a flair for dramatic victories, just like the A’s, who have a major league-leading 20 wins in their final at-bat.


“I don’t know if we’re watching them or they’re watching us,” said Gomes, a longtime financial supporter of the local league. “It must be in the water up here.”


Despite the loss, New Jersey fulfilled the goal the team set from the first day of practice: Get to South Williamsport.


“Like I told the kids, you came to visit,” manager Mike Ruggiero said. “You’re on the best field in the world and you played on it.”


___


CURACAO 4, CANADA 3


Trailing 3-1 in the fifth, the winners from Willemstad had runners on second and third when Christopher Koeiman hit a fly ball to left with one out. Carter Kada-Wong fell backward to make the catch, but both runners had enough time to score.


Jansen then homered to give Curacao the lead for good against Vancouver, British Columbia.


Reliever Rallison Bentura pitched 2 2-3 scoreless innings to get the win.


“I had the attitude that nobody could hit me,” the 12-year-old right-hander said through an interpreter.


Cole Dalla-Zanna was the hard-luck loser for Canada, striking out nine.


Canada was eliminated but manager Vito Bordignon wants his players to be proud of their showing this year, which included a 13-9 win over formidable Mexico.


Next up for Canada: a little sightseeing in Pennsylvania.


“I just told them they had a great tournament and to keep their heads up,” Bordignon said. “They represented Canada well.”


___


NEBRASKA 17, GERMANY 1


Kearney earned Nebraska’s first-ever win at the Little League World Series and set a tournament record, too, with the 15-run second inning.


Thirteen-year-old Jared Wegner went 3 for 4 with a homer and five RBIs in the game delayed by rain and played under sometimes sloppy conditions.


Both teams had fun in the dugouts during the delay, where Nebraska second baseman Matt Masker, 13, showed off his dance moves to the hip-hop song “Teach Me How to Dougie” by Cali Swag District.


“They also wanted to go out on the tarp and do some sliding,” manager Brad Wegner said. “All fun all the time.”


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AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in Oakland, Calif., contributed to this story.


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Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP


Associated Press
Curacao, Calif., advance at Little League WS (2024)
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