Game 2
Pacific 6 vs. EMEA

Friday, August 19, 2005
6:00PM ET
Volunteer Stadium

Time-Guam: Pacific team explodes for a 6-2 victory over Russia

by Nick Williams

In the “Team Notes” section of the media program, Guam head coach Shon Muna says his team hits for power but also has deep pitching. He goes on to call his players disciplined and focused. In their first game of pool play Friday night, Muna’s boys were everything he said they were.

Power? Calvert Aloka clubbed two homers. Pitching? Trae Santos pitched a complete game two-hitter, not allowing a hit until the fourth and giving up two unearned runs. He struck out 13 batters. Discipline? His team drew five walks. Focus? Try a 6-2 win over Russia in front of 4,850 at Volunteer Stadium.

“It feels good it happened here on my second time back,” Muna said, referring to his return to Williamsport after previously leading a team here in 2003. “They produced when I needed them too.”

Aloka produced right away, starting Guam off on the right foot by leading off the game with a solo home run to dead center field. One batter later, Santos doubled and then scored when Sean Manley hit a scorcher off the base of the wall in right center for an RBI single and a 3-0 lead against Russia pitcher Andrey Vesenev.

“[Andrey’s] one of our best pitchers,” said Russia manager Alexey Erofeev, attributing much of Vesenev’s problems to nerves. “It’s the first time we played with so many spectators.”

In the second inning, Guam took advantage of three walks and an error by Russia. With one out, shortstop Byron Quenga walked on four pitches. Aloka followed with his second blast of the game, a shot that took advantage of a strong wind blowing out to left field, landing in the bushes a few feet back of the 205 marker. After back-to-back walks and a fielder’s choice put runners on first and third with two outs, second baseman Joseph Duenas hit a high chopper back toward the mound. Vesenev fielded the ball and threw to first, but first baseman Anton Smirnov dropped the ball, allowing the sixth Guam run to make it 6-0.

Russia, too, capitalized on an error when they struck against Santos in the fourth inning. With one out, Viktor Elkin broke up the no-hit bid with an opposite field single. He advanced to second on Santos’ attempt to pick him off of first base. The next batter, Mikail Novozhilov, chopped one to short and Elkin raced for third. When shortstop Byron Quenga’s throw glanced off the third baseman’s glove, Elkin scampered back to second, leaving both runners safe and still only one out.

After a fielder’s choice put runners on the corners, Oleg Inoyatov hit a grounder to Santos who scooped up the ball and fired to first. But first baseman Jeremy Taijeron dropped the ball for an error, allowing the first Russia run to cross the plate. With the next batter up, Inoyatov took off for second, only to have the ball arrive there far before he did. During the ensuing pickle, Novozhilov scored from third base, just before Inoyatov was tagged out trying to slide back into first.

Santos had been cruising, retiring the first 10 batters he faced, while racking up eight strikeouts—including six straight before Elkin’s single—using mostly his slow-motion curveball that had Russia hitters guessing.

Erofeev explained that his players aren’t used to seeing the curveball because he doesn’t allow his pitchers to throw them, citing future health risks to shoulders and elbows.

“We don’t often see the curveball because we don’t practice against the curveball,” he said. “We don’t have [our pitchers] throw curves or sliders.”

Erofeev’s pitchers didn’t have to throw curves or sliders to be effective in the latter stages of the game. Alexander Khudyakov and Inoyatov combined to pitched four innings of scoreless relief.

Khudyakov walked two, gave up one hit and struck out three in three innings. Inoyatov came in for the sixth and pitched a perfect inning, striking out two of the three batters he faced.

Muna acknowledged the effectiveness of Russia’s relief, even though it didn’t amount in a victory for them

“Hats off to the coach, who made the right move there,” Muna said. “We tried to work things out, but obviously the coach had a good strategy.”

Apparently, so did Muna.

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2005, Little League Baseball Incorporated
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