Game 12
Latin America
9 vs. EMEA 0
Sunday, August 21, 2004
4:00PM ET

Panama's Francisco treat
Latin America righthander Francisco Chiari treats fans to no-hitter in win over Poland

By Mark Rogoff

Panama Manager Carlos Mosquera believes his team has the pitching to go deep into the Little League World Series tournament.

He may be right.

Francisco Chiari, whom he labels as his Number Five pitcher, tossed a no-hitter, including four and two-thirds perfect innings to start the game, as Panama (2-0) defeated Poland 9-0 in front of 4,400 at Volunteer Stadium.

Chiari allowed just two batters to reach base, a fifth-inning walk to Adrian Florczak and a sixth-inning base on balls to Dominik Strawiak.

"I am very happy with the work I did," Chiari said through interpreter Carlos Pagan. "I thought I could throw harder, but I threw a good game.

"I was in a groove. I thank my coaches and players for helping me through."

After inducing Strawiak to ground out to lead off the game, the hard-throwing righthander struck out six in a row. He fanned 10 overall with his mother Dixie in the stands yelling words of encouragement.

"She challenged me to take it easy and be patient with the hitters," Chiari said.

Panama jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first, beginning with Sergio Rivera's bloop double to right that scored Eduardo Thomas. Mario Gonzalez then reached on an error, which advanced Rivera to third. Rivera then scored when Gonzalez was caught stealing in a perfectly-executed rundown.

Thomas' two-RBI single in the second extended the lead to 4-0.

In the third, Miguel Vallejos knocked in Panama's fifth run with a pop-up that fell out of the reach of Poland first baseman Mateusz Serafin. An inning later, Bayron Haynes closed out the scoring with an RBI double.

"I am very happy with the two wins," Mosquera said through Pagan. "I am very happy that the team is hitting because in the Latin America regional they didn't hit as well.

"We're very motivated. The kids are very happy."

Said Rivera with Pagan as interpreter: "I have no words to describe what is happening. I'm on cloud nine."

Arkadiusz Panasiuk came close to getting Poland's first base hit of the game and the tourney. The catcher laced a liner to center field that Jose Montano had to dive for to catch, narrowly getting his glove between the ball and the grass.

Poland head coach Andrzej Petrzak praised his players for their effort, despite falling to 0-2 in Pool C play and escaping a mercy-rule ending in the fourth frame.

"I know all my players game everything they had, and that is all that counts," he said through interpreter Beata Kaszuba. "The players were happy to play all six innings."

Poland closes out pool play with a tilt against Ottawa, Ontario Tuesday afternoon.

The Panama kids next face Chinese Taipei, Taiwan as they gun for first place in Pool C. Mosquera knows it's pitching and defense that will lead them to victory.

"I wanted to have all pitchers ready to face Taiwan," he said, when asked about starting Chiari against Poland. "We will try to have a defense against them.".

Click here for box scores

Photography by Caroline Connolley

2004 Little League Baseball Incorporated