Game 22
Great Lakes
2 vs. New England 3

Monday, August 23, 2005
3:00PM ET
Lamade Stadium

Maine event over, but not after win against Owensboro
Westbrook takes battle of two 0-2 teams

By Mark Rogoff

Too little, too late.

Unfortunately, that was the case for the Westbrook All-Stars.

After losing their first two games at the Little League Baseball World Series, they would not be advancing to a United States semifinal contest, regardless of the outcome of their game vs. a similar 0-2 Owensboro squad.

Unlike the regional tournament in Bristol, Connecticut, where they lost their first three pool play games and still managed to move on to single elimination play, the Westbrook mites are going home after three games and a 1-2 record in South Williamsport.

That’s nothing to hang their heads about, considering their magical run through the regionals.

It was Zach Collett’s three-run homer in the bottom of the third that erased a 2-0 deficit, and Joey Royer’s three innings of no-run, one-hit relief that gave the Maine mites a 3-2 win over Owensboro, Kentucky (0-3) in the Pool B finale.

Two games after failing to hold a 2-0 lead in the last of the sixth vs. Lafayette, Westbrook this time held on to its lead, using a fine defensive play from Zack Gardiner at shortstop to end it with the tying run on first.

“This time we did turn it around,” said Maine manager Rick Knight. “And it took the entire team to do it.”

“I felt very confident,” Royer said about going into the last inning. “I had nothing to worry about it.”

Royer, whose throw home was late on the game-winning single in Westbrook’s 3-2 loss to Lafayette, and who allowed Kalen Pimentel’s game-deciding grand slam in a 7-3 setback vs. Vista, allowed only a bloop infield hit in the fourth.

The righthander did issue a leadoff walk in the sixth, but struck out the next two hitters before Owensboro’s Bryan Sanders popped one into shallow left field. Gardiner, who had been the team’s closer throughout the summer but couldn’t pitch due to arm troubles, made a lunging catch to his right, tumbling over and hanging on for the final out and the defensive version of a “save.”

“I felt really good after that,” said the soft-spoken Gardiner.

Collett’s three-run blast in the third was the second of three hits for Westbrook, which was outhit 4-3 in the ballgame. Reid Coulombe worked a one-out walk to start things off. He went to second on a wild pitch, and advanced to third when Owensboro’s Bryson Morrow wasn’t able to field a throw from second baseman Dalton West on a ground ball off the bat Tommy Lemay.

With runners at the corners, Collett took the first pitch he saw from Luke Daugherty over the wall in center field.

“To tell you the truth, I thought it was out,” Collett said. “It felt great off the bat, and after it went out, it felt even better.”

Owensboro scored twice in the top of the third to crack a scoreless ballgame. The first run came on Dalton West’s RBI double. Daugherty then made it 2-0 with his run-scoring groundout that plated West, who had advanced to third on a passed ball.

Daugherty took the loss on the hill, allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits and a pair of walks in five innings. He fanned seven.

“Luke pitched a great game,” said Owensboro skipper Ricky Hale. “He looked like the Luke of old. I was really proud of him.

“I just wanted the kids to have fun and play baseball, and that’s what they did.”

So did Maine, which has now had three representatives in the history of the tournament. And the kids weren’t shy about being sentimental…with a touch of expected humor from the fun-loving bunch.

“Not everyone can say they’ve won a game at the Little League World Series,” Royer said.

“Yeah, especially if you’re from Maine,” quipped Sean Murphy.

Game Photos

2005, Little League Baseball Incorporated
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