Game 9
Midwest 2
 vs. New England 3
Saturday, August 21, 2004
8:00PM ET

Down by way of the 'K'
Lincoln hurler Chris Constantino strikes out 15 in victory over Davenport

By Mark Rogoff

Just call him Chris Constantino Sabathia. C.C. Sabathia.

The Lincoln, Rhode Island right-hander looked just as good, if not better than the Cleveland Indians southpaw. Constantino struck out the first nine batters he faced in his first outing at the 58th World Series, equaling Sabathia's strikeout total from his last two starts combined.

Constantino fanned 15 overall, allowing only five batters to put the ball in play as Lincoln (1-0) prevailed 3-2 over Davenport (0-2) in front of 9,700 at Volunteer Stadium Saturday.

Nathan Duquette's RBI single in the top half of the sixth proved to be the game-winner.

"Chris was outstanding," said Lincoln manager Randy Hien. "I feel like he is one of the best, if not the best pitcher in the country. The word is out - we feed him nails for breakfast. That kid is tough."

The five-foot-10, 183-pounder had to work out of trouble in the sixth, striking out Jacob Maxwell with the tying run on the third and the winning run on second. Earlier in the inning, he had collided with Davenport shortstop Brody Grothus at the plate as Grothus scored on a wild pitch. Constantino spent a few minutes with his coaches and the training staff before getting back on the hill to close out the game.

"I had everything working," he said. "The whole game I had my fastball."

Grothus led off the fourth with an infield hit to break Constantino's string of nine straight punch-outs to start the game. Grothus also stroked a one-out single to left to start Davenport's sixth-inning rally.

"(The sixth inning) felt like three innings," Hien said. "You have to give a lot of credit to the other team. There was no quit in them."

Added Duquette, who was playing first base: "I was pretty nervous. But we had Chris on the mound."

Lincoln scored a pair of runs in the first to stake an early 2-0 lead. Jeremy Rhault scored on Zach Trenteseaux' fielder's choice before Trenteseaux himself came around to score on Brendan Sullivan's single up the middle.

Davenport's Justin Black cut the lead in half when he popped a two-out homer to right-centerfield. That marked the first run Constantino had given up since the opener of regional play August 6 vs. Worcester, MA. The burly righty gave a "high five" to Black as he rounded third and headed for home.

"You got to tip your hat to the kid," Constantino said.

Davenport did receive a fine effort from starting pitcher Jacob Gibson, who struck out nine and gave up three runs on eight hits in the complete-game loss.

Click here for box scores

Photography by Caroline Connolley

2004 Little League Baseball Incorporated