Game 30
United States Championship

0 vs. West 4
Saturday, August 28, 2004
7:30PM ET

Thousand Oaks has grand time in U.S. final
West champs advance to World Series title game with 4-0 win over Richmond

By Mark Rogoff

Cody Thomson was dominant, flat out dominant.

Many wondered if the Thousand Oaks right-hander could shut down a Richmond offense that had scored 51 runs in four games leading up to the U.S. Championship. Thomson had no such wonderment.

“I just knew I had to have my ‘A’ game,” he said. “I knew I had to keep the ball down because one through nine, their lineup can hit.”

Simply stated, Thomson had his “A” game.

The "fireballer" tossed a one-hit shutout and knocked in what proved to be the winning run with a second-inning RBI single as Thousand Oaks earned a spot in Sunday’s World Series Championship game against Curacao with a 4-0 victory over Richmond before 28,574 at Howard J. Lamade Stadium.

Thomson fanned 12 in all, including five straight over the fourth and fifth innings. He was effective and efficient throughout, tossing 71 pitches, 50 of which went for strikes.
The 5-foot-10, 159-pound hurler didn’t allow a runner past second base, a feat not many would have predicted against such an offensive club.

“It feels great,” Thomson said. “That was probably the best game I’ve ever pitched. I just felt great tonight.”

John Lister, who caught Thomson’s gem, said, “Cody pitched a great game today. (Richmond) is a great hitting team, but he was throwing fast and keeping it away. I don’t think they could have done any better.”

Thomson set the pace early by retiring the side in order in the first, using only 10 pitches and striking out a pair. He had a similarly easy inning in the third, using just eight pitches (all strikes) to shut down three straight, including two punch outs.

“He had all of his pitches coming in great today,” said Thousand Oaks skipper Tim Ginther. “It’s a total joy (to watch him throw). We got one of the best pitchers around here and it showed tonight. This has to be his Number One game.

“He is the Number One pitcher in the U.S.A. He proved that. I wish I had him (available) tomorrow.”

Thousand Oaks scored a pair in the second inning to stake a 2-0 lead. Tyler Karp led off the inning by hitting a line shot that went off third baseman Dustin Moehlig’s glove and into left field for a double. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Lister drew a walk and later went to second on a defensive indifference.

Thomson stepped to the plate and helped himself out with a run-scoring single. Lister also tried to score on the play, running through a stop sign only to be thrown out at the plate by center fielder Cody Abraham.

Thomson advanced to second on the throw home and went to third on James Brady’s grounder to the right side. He then scored on Hayden Cronenbold’s looping single up the middle.

“I just needed to get a base hit,” Thomson said of the game winner.

Thousand Oaks added its third run on an unusual sacrifice fly in the third. With one out and Danny Leon on third base, Brower popped one up just beyond the third base bag on the eighth pitch the at-bat. Moehlig went back to make a diving grab, and as he tried to get up slipped back to the ground, allowing Leon to score easily without a throw home.

The West champs tacked on one more in the sixth when Lister scored on hot-shot grounder that went past first baseman Tyler Ford, a play that was ruled an error.

“I can’t believe it,” Leon said of his team being the best Little League squad in the United States. “Now that we’re there, it just feels great.”

Thomson did work out of some trouble in the second, giving up a leadoff single to Daniel Homann before hitting Tyler Ford with a pitch. Following a force out at third on a fielder’s choice, Thousand Oaks turned a nifty double play that ended the inning. First baseman Leon went to his knees to field a sharp grounder, threw to shortstop Tyler Karp, who made a nice turn and gunned the ball to first, where second baseman James Brady was covering.

Richmond this year had never been shut out before tonight. The bats went silent to say the least.

“We just simply couldn’t get anything going,” said Richmond manager Jim Michalek. “We couldn’t get a leadoff guy on. We couldn’t get any rhythm going.”

While Thousand Oaks squares off against Curacao for world supremacy on the Little League Baseball circuit, Richmond will face Mexico in the consolation match.

“You don’t want to call it a summer with one hit,” Michalek said.

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© 2004 Little League Baseball Incorporated