Game 15
6 vs. Pacific 3
Monday, August 23, 2004
1:00PM ET

The Big "O"
Mexico's Oscar Garza homers again in win over Saipan

By Mark Rogoff

Oscar Garza barely had enough time to brush his teeth, catch a few hours of sleep and head back out to the field Monday morning following his dramatic walk-off home run against Saudi Arabia Sunday night.

But no worries. The quick turnaround was no problem at all.

Garza went deep in a critical spot again, this time crushing a three-run opposite-field homer that gave his mates a 6-1 advantage and proved to be the game-winner as Mexico (2-1) notched a 6-3 win over Saipan (0-2) before 7,703 at Howard J. Lamade Stadium.

The blast hit the base of ESPN's boom camera that is stationed a dozen feet beyond the outfield fence, and gave starting pitcher Alan Camarillo some breathing room in his first outing of the tournament.

"I kept my eye on the ball and just made good contact," Garza said through interpreter Micah Hughes. "The turnaround time was not that big of a deal."

Garza said the majority of his home runs have been to the opposite field, including his game-ending shot Sunday night.

Camarillo, who paced Mexico to the victory and a final pool play record of 2-1, was dazzling in his Series debut, allowing three runs (one earned) on three hits while striking out nine.

Not bad for a kid who didn't know he was going to pitch until a few hours before the game.

"I feel good about my performance," Camarillo said through Hughes. "I'm glad I got the opportunity to pitch. I didn't know I was going to pitch."

His lone, big mistake came in the fourth, when Antonio Rogolifoi Jr. cracked a solo home run to center field.

The right-hander did have to work out of trouble in the sixth, allowing a two-out RBI single to Alexander Benavente before facing Elijah Aughenbaugh with runners on first and second. Camarillo induced Aughenbaugh to ground into a fielder's choice to third baseman Victor Gonzalez, who stepped on the third base bag to force out Eric Tenorio.

"I am very happy with the way things have turned out so far," manager Gerardo Leal said through Hughes. "I hope the next round brings us even more luck."

Shortstop Ismael Garcia put Saipan in an early 2-0 hole when he cranked a two-run homer in the bottom of the first.

Saipan came right back to cut the lead in half when Tenorio, who led off the inning by reaching on a throwing error, scored all the way from second on a fielding error by Mexico second baseman Daniel Lozano.

Mexico then responded by plating four runs in their half of the second inning. Saipan starter Cameron Nicholas was chased from the game after loading the bases with a one-out walk to Lozano. Justin Alexander came on in relief to try and put out the fire.

With Garza at the plate, Ricardo Barragan scored from third on an errant throw from catcher Ike Aldan to Alexander on the hill. Later in the at-bat, Garza cleared the bases with his opposite-field long ball.

"The more we play, the better we're going to hit," Leal said.

Saipan, which fell to 0-2 in pool play, hopes to salvage a win in its final pool play game Tuesday vs. Curacao.

"We wanted this (win), but it just didn't work out," said manager Anthony Benavente. "So we hope to come away with one win at this Series."

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Photography by Caroline Connolley

2004 Little League Baseball Incorporated