Game 10
12 vs. Great Lakes 2
Sunday, August 22, 2004
1:00PM ET

Richmond cashes in
Southwest Champs improve to 2-0 with second mercy-rule victory

By David Graham-Caso

Richmond Manager Jim Michalek still swears he does not have a power-hitting team. The number dictate otherwise.

The Lamar National Little League from Richmond, Texas continued its Pool B dominance Sunday afternoon with a 12-2 victory over Owensboro, Ky., a day after recording a 18-7 victory over Redland, Wa.

Richmond’s lineup slugged two homeruns Sunday, extending their tournament-leading total to six.

“We are not a power hitting team,” said Texas manager Jim Michalek. “We are a good hitting team and we hit the ball on the screws today.”

Texas starter Daniel Homann allowed just two runs on five hits while first baseman Tyler Ford provided the offensive spark for his club, going 3-for-3 and scoring two runs in front ofa crowd of over 11,000 at Volunteer stadium.

“All I had to do was to stay calm and keep my composure,” Homann said. “I knew that my defense would get me out of any jam that I was in.”

Texas, which scored 18 runs in their Little League World Series opener yesterday, capitalized on an eight-run fifth to post double digits in the run column for the second straight day.

Great Lakes set the tempo for the game in the top of the first inning. A lead off single by Jonathon Higdon that skipped down the left-field line was immediately followed by a bunt single off the bat of Cole Sturgeon. Later in the inning, with one out and Higdon still on second, Owensboro first baseman Meghan Sims rocketed a grounder up the middle. The scorching grounder was too much for Texas second baseman Joey Scheurich to handle and the error plated Higdon.

Kentucky notched one more run in the inning, when Sturgeon crossed the plate on a Nick Laster two-out single.

Great Lakes hurler Ross Gilliam worked out of a jam in his first inning on the mound. The starter surrendered a single to Richmond leadoff man Cody Abraham and then a walk to Scheurich. The next batter was Texas slugger Randal Grichuk. Grichuk was coming off of a 3-for-3, two-home run day and with two runners on was as dangerous as a rattlesnake. While attempting to avoid giving Grichuk any meaty pitches, Gilliam threw a series of wild pitches which allowed Abraham to circle the bases and score. After the run crossed the plate, Gilliam appeared to relax and caught Grichuk staring at a 3-2 curveball. Gilliam also used his nasty hook to catch Daniel Homann looking and then blew a fastball by Matt Daniels to end the inning with Scheurich stranded on second.

Owensboro lost the lead in the bottom of the second. Stephen Michalek tied the game with a RBI single and then Dustin Moehling gave Texas the lead by coming home on a wild pitch. Texas extended their lead when a lazy fly ball ricocheted off of Sturgeon’s mitt in centerfield, allowing Michalek to score. At the end of two wild innings, Texas was leading 4-2.

“You have to play a perfect game to beat a team of that quality,” said Kentucky manager Vic Evans Jr. “You can’t give them extra outs and we did today.”

The Texas offense exploded in the bottom of the fifth. Lamar National scored eight runs off two different Owensboro pitchers. The offensive surge was peaked with a three-run Abraham dinger over the ESPN camera stand in right field.

Texas finished off Kentucky when Grichuk hammered a monster blast over the scoreboard in left. Grichuk’s homerun made the score 12-2 and the mercy rule was implemented.

“I got a low and inside pitch,” Grichuk said. “And I happen to like low and inside pitches.”

“We seem to be playing reasonably well,” J. Michalek said. “And it couldn’t be coming at a better time.”

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Photography by Caroline Connolley

© 2004 Little League Baseball Incorporated