Game 18
Transatlantic 0
 vs. Caribbean 3

Monday, August 22, 2005
6:00PM ET
Volunteer Stadium

One-hit wonders
Curacao and Saudi Arabia both record only one hit in 3-0 Curacao win

By Mark Rogoff

The names Andrew Holden and Sorick Liberia almost went down in the record books for something special, something called a double no-hitter.

As it turns out, neither Saudi Arabia’s Holden nor Curacao’s Liberia will be etched in Little League no-hitter stone. Both came within one out of accomplishing the feat, and both had to settle for a one-hitter. The culprits: a pair of two-out doubles in both teams’ last at-bat.

The one for Curacao: Darren Seferina’s double in the bottom of the fifth that had no influence on the score or outcome of the game.

The one for Saudi Arabia: Alexander Robinett’s two-bagger in the top of the sixth that was simply too little, too late for any rally.

Nonetheless, both pitchers were dynamite, and the line scores look like this:

Holden: 5.0 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K
Liberia: 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K

Curacao scored all three of its runs over the first two innings, taking advantage of a walk, an error, a hit batsman, a passed ball and three wild pitches. That’s all the Caribbean champs would need, posting a 3-1 win over Transatlantic and finishing 2-1 in pool play to earn a trip to Thursday’s international semifinal against the first-place finisher from Pool C.

The combined two hits is the lowest hit total in a game since pool play began in 1992, breaking the previous record of three from a game featuring Bedford, New Hampshire (U.S. East) and Hamilton, Ohio (U.S. Central) in 1993. In that contest won by Bedford 1-0, Bedford’s Thomas Beyer threw a no-hitter and Hamilton’s Ronnie Bicknell allowed three base knocks.

The pair of one-hitters in Monday’s game account for the 22nd and 23rd since pool play began in 1992.

“I feel good about it,” Liberia said of his outing through interpreter Alec Nicolaas. “My curveball was dominating most of the game. It’s not important (losing the no-hitter in the sixth). It’s important that we won.”

“Andrew has done a great job all summer long for us,” Saudi skipper Tommy Bumstead said of his righthander. “We felt confident going in he’d do a great job against the Caribbean. I couldn’t have asked for a better performance from our pitcher.”

Curacao scored its first two runs in the first. Rayshelon Carolina led off with a walk, and advanced all the way to third when Robinett couldn’t handle a hot-shot grounder off the bat of Seferina at third. Seferina made his way to second on a passed ball, and with runners on second and third, Carolina scored on a wild pitch as Seferina advanced to third. Seferina then scored on another wild pitch.

The Caribbean champs upped their lead to 3-0 in the second, when Alexander Rodriguez’s ground out scored Naeem Lourens, who led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch and advancing all the way to third on yet another pitch in the dirt.

No base runners advanced past second base after the second inning. It stayed quiet – except for a handful of walks and a hit batsman – until the bottom of the fifth when the hits started coming.

In the fifth, Willie Rifaela went down on strikes for the first out and Carolina flied out to deep center field for out No. 2. Seferina then stroked his high flying double to the gap in left-center field.

“It feels pretty good,” Seferina said through Nicolaas. “I was telling the guys in the dugout I was going to get the first one.”

In the top of the sixth, the Saudis knocked on the door right away. Leadoff man Matt Timoney hit a hard grounder to second baseman Seferina, who picked it nicely and threw to first for the out. Ryan Bumstead hit a hard grounder of his own to shortstop Jurickson Profar, who also gunned it to first for the out.

Robinett then stepped to the plate and laced one just beyond Rudmichaell Brandao at third for a double down the line.

“We expected a good team because Japan only beat them 3-0,” Curacao manager Vernon Isabella said of Saudi Arabia. “We didn't expect less hits (for us), though. There was a little tension when we were winning but not hitting. We’ll have to start hitting the ball in the (single elimination games).”

Saudi Arabia will not be making a trip to the semifinal round this year. With Japan 3-0 and Curacao 2-1, the ex-patriots cannot advance with an 0-2 record. It marks the 10th time in 11 tries since pool play began in 1992 that a team from the Arabian American Little League has missed out on moving into single-elimination play.

Since the start of pool play in 1992, the only year the Saudis were a bracket buster was in 1994, when they went 2-1 in the lone international pool before losing to a team from Venezuela 10-1 in the international championship. From 1992-2000, there were only four international teams, and the top two advanced to the international title game.

“The last two years we’ve been so close, but haven’t been able to get over the hump,” Bumstead said. “It is frustrating.”

The fine effort by his team is to be commended, according to Bumstead.

“I’ve never been more proud of the kids in my life,” he said. “We fought them down to the wire. I told them, ‘I know you’re disappointed, but you’re going to look back and be proud of what you guys accomplished.’”

Game Photos

2005, Little League Baseball Incorporated
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