Game 6
5 vs. Northwest 2
Saturday, August 21, 2004
3:00PM ET

Richmond goes big and rich with offense
Texans pound out 16 hits en route to 18-7 win over Redmond

By Mark Rogoff

What a difference a year makes for Richmond's Randal Grichuk.

As an 11-year-old playing for the same Lamar National Little League All-Stars at the 2003 World Series, Grichuk came to bat just five times during pool play. This time around for the Southwest champs, Grichuk in one game already has five plate appearances...and five big ones.

The slugger cracked two home runs in his first two at-bats, and then connected for an RBI double for his third hit in the first three innings as Richmond used four home runs in all and took advantage of five errors to cruise to an 18-7 win over the Northwest champs from Redland, WA in front of 11,400 at Howard J. Lamade Stadium.

Grichuk was also intentionally walked and hit by a pitch, finishing the day with four runs scored and four RBI.

At five-foot-seven and 126 pounds, Grichuk is five and a half inches taller and 23 pounds heavier than he was a year ago. He seems to be using that growth to knock the ball out of the park.

"(This year) feels a lot better, especially to be batting third," he said. "I love the games when you bat four or five times."

Including two homers in his last two at-bats in the Southwest Regional (one that tied the championship game with Arkansas at 2-2 and one that sent Richmond to Williamsport, a seventh-inning solo blast), and his two long balls today, Grichuk homered in four straight plate appearances.

"(My teammates) were all talking about it, but I said, 'Oh, I didn't think about that,'" Grichuk said.

Catcher Daniel Homann and pitcher Matt Daniels, who allowed two unearned runs in four innings of work, joined Grichuk in the home run parade. Daniels' grand slam ("I just thought 'tennis ball in a coul-de-sac'") was part of a five-run fifth, Richmond's second five-run frame of the day.

The 18 Southwest runs are the most by a United States team in one game since the tournament expanded to 16 teams in 2001.

"We really don't have a power-hitting team," said manager Jim Michalek. "If you hit the ball on the screws sometimes it just leaves the yard. We just pride ourselves on trying to hit the ball hard."

Richmond used back-to-back jacks to jump out to a 3-0 lead after the top half of the first. Grichuk hugged one around the left field foul pole for a two-run blast before Homann stroked one over the left-centerfield wall.

Grichuk's solo homer in the second capped a five-run inning.

"That was pretty impressive," Redmond manager Darryl Beliel said of Richmond's offensive performance. "They definitely have a good fastball-hitting team. (Grichuk) will be doing a lot more damage to other teams."

Redmond battled back for four runs in the fifth to make it 15-6 and avoid a mercy rule-shortened game. Centerfielder Michael Conforto capped the scoring for both teams with his sixth-inning solo shot.

"We could have hung it up after two innings," Beliel said. "We're a good team and that showed we didn't have to quit. I was very proud of them."

News and Notes:

  • Dario Pizzano from last year's New England Regional Champion Saugus, MA team was in attendance. Pizzano scored the winning run in Saugus' thrilling 14-13, seven-inning victory over these same Richmond Texans in one of the United States semifinal contests. The 13-year-old, who is in South Williamsport with his brother and grandparents, is planning on staying until Tuesday.

  • During the game, Pizzano was joined by teammate Mark Sacco. The two then spotted Boynton Beach, FL fireballer Michael Broad, whose team advanced to last year's World Series Championship game. The three watched the final three innings together from the first row behind home plate.

  • Prior to the game, Little League and the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation unveiled a 14-foot tall bronze statue of "The Might Casey" on the flat ground between the two hills in leftfield at Lamade Stadium. The larger-than-life statue recognizes a two-million dollar endowment that provides annual support to the Little League Baseball Challenger Division. Little League President/CEO Steve Keener joined Teammates for Kids CEO Bo Mitchell and statue sculptor Mark Lundin at the pitchers mound for comments before the uncovering.

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Photography by Caroline Connolley

2004 Little League Baseball Incorporated