Game 31
Consolation Game

5 vs. Mexico 0
Sunday, August 21, 2004
1:00PM ET

Nothing wrong with third
Richmond shuts out Mexico to finish third in the world of Little League Baseball

By Mark Rogoff


It appears the Richmond offense just took a little vacation in Saturday’s United States Championship.

After collecting only one hit against Thousand Oaks on their way to a 4-0 loss, the Richmond Rugrats were back in the swing of things Sunday – this time in a battle for third place.

“The minute we started playing catch (in pre-game warmups) we were relaxed,” said Richmond manager Jim Michalek. “We were back to our old selves.”

He could say that again.

The Southwest champs pounded out five runs on eight hits, using fine efforts at the plate from Randal Grichuk and Steven Crawford to shut out Mexico 5-0 in front of 5,291 at Volunteer Stadium and lock up third place in the tournament.

Grichuck, who also earned the complete-game victory on the hill, went 2-for-3 with two RBI. Crawford, meanwhile, was 2-for-3 with an RBI in the eight hole.

“It’s great,” Crawford said. “It’s very great to help your team out.”

Grichuk finished the Series batting .600 (12-for-20) in six games, tying two others for the record for most hits by an individual player.

As a team, Richmond collected a Series record 61 base knocks, surpassing Japan’s total of 58 from a year ago. The Musashi-Fuchu Little League All-Stars went on to win the World Series Championship, defeating Boynton Beach, Florida 10-1.

Richmond got it going early in the first when Grichuk, who went 0-for-3 in the U.S. title game in his only hitless contest since regional play began, doubled down the left field line to bring home Joey Scheurich all the way from first. Grichuk was thrown out at third trying to stretch his hit into a triple. Daniel Homann then stroked a solo homer to left-center field to give Richmond a 2-0 lead.

The Southwest champs added three runs in the third, using a Grichuk RBI single, a Christian DeLeon RBI double and a Crawford run-scoring base knock to make it 5-0.

Grichuk didn’t do so badly on the hill as well, giving up only three hits in his complete-game win. He gave up a pair of base hits in the first, escaping a two-out, first-and-third jam with a strikeout of Victor Gonzalez. Grichuk, who was battling arm injuries throughout the summer, allowed just two batters to reach base the rest of the way, the only hit being a third-inning Alán Camarillo double.

“I was surprised,” Grichuk said of performance on the hill. “I thought I was only going to throw two innings. It feels great.”

The righthander struck out 11, including the side in the fifth. After fanning Ismael Garcia for the second out in the sixth, he got Walter Montemayor to pop out to him to end the game.

Richmond heads home the third-best Little League team on the planet. Michalek and his boys are pretty content, despite a little bit of lingering discontent from their loss in the U.S. Championship.

“I’m so glad we played today,” Michalek said. “I’m happy we’re going out winners. This is an amazing experience.”

Added Crawford: “We’re going to be the most popular kids at school. That’s great, I guess..

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© 2004 Little League Baseball Incorporated