Game 21
5 vs. EMEA 1
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
1:00PM ET

The amazin' Gazo!
Canada's Nick Gazo works four shutout innings to help trump Poland 5-1

By Mark Rogoff

Nick Gazo knew he was going to see action on the hill before this thing was all said and done. Canada manager Mike Crepin practically assured the youngster he'd get to pitch Tuesday against Poland.

"Coach said I was going to pitch today so I was already warmed up," Gazo said of throwing off the practice mound even before Crepin told him that he'd be going in.

Gazo got his shot all right, relieving Alex Baldock after two innings and tossing four shutout frames to earn the win as Canada (1-2) defeated Poland 5-1 before 5,500 at Volunteer Stadium.

Gazo retired the first nine he faced before walking Kamil Michalek to lead off the fifth. The five-foot, 82-pound righthander struck out eight and gave up just one hit, a Dominik Strawiak single up the middle to lead off the sixth.

"It was pretty cool," he said of his pitching experience.

Gazo got to keep the game ball for his efforts.

"I'm saving it," he said. "I'm never going to use it again."

Baldock led off the game with a home run, crushing a 1-2 offering from Mateusz Serafin over the left field fence.

It was the first leadoff homer of the tournament.

"What's there to say?" asked a shy, yet witty Baldock. "It was a fastball inside and I turned on it. It feels amazing. It was awesome."

Poland's Serafin pitched well in his complete-game loss, allowing just that one mistake to Baldock. Only one of his five runs allowed was earned, giving up just three hits as the defense behind him committed seven errors.

In a display of steady improvement, however, Poland recorded its first hit and scored its first run of the Series after coming up empty on both accounts in its first two games, an 18-0 loss to Chinese Taipei, Taiwan Saturday and a 9-0 setback to Panama Sunday.

Poland cut the lead in half at 2-1 in the bottom half of the first. Catcher Arkadiusz Panasiuk chopped an infield single down the first base line. He advanced to second on a passed ball and to third when Jakub Kolasinski grounded out to Canada shortstop Jesse O'Byrne. Serafin then lined a comebacker that caromed off Baldock's leg. Baldock was able to recover to get the out at first, but Panasiuk scored on the play.

Canada came back in the fourth to score two runs, expanding the lead to 4-1 by taking advantage of three Poland miscues.

The East Nepean Little Leaguers tacked on one more in the sixth as Shawn Green scored on a wild pitch with two outs in the inning.

"It's been three years since a Canadian team won a game at the Little League World Series," said manager Crepin. "We were disappointed last night because (the) 7-2 (loss to Chinese Taipei, Taiwan) was not reflective of the teams. I'm happy for them to leave with a win."

Click here for box scores

2004 Little League Baseball Incorporated