Game 3
Southwest 1
 vs. Midwest

Friday, August 18, 2006
8:00PM ET

Lake Charles marvels with Cecchini
South Lake Charles combines for a one-hitter as they shut down the Midwest All-Stars in nine innings, 1-0

By Brandon Miller
Special Correspondent

As the saying goes, pitching wins championships. If that’s truly the case, then both South Lake Charles Little League and Daniel Boone National Little League are in great shape following their, 1-0, nine-inning tussle, won by the Southwest Region Champions.

Game three of the Little League Baseball World Series matched up the Southwest All-Stars from Lake Charles, La., versus the Midwest All-Stars from Columbia, Mo., and it was the definition of a pitcher’s duel.

Gavin Cecchini was on the mound for the visiting South Lake Charles team, while Ryan Phillips toed the rubber for the home Daniel Boone team, both looking calm and collected.

And the scoring remained calm throughout, until Gabe Von Rosenberg’s sacrifice fly in the top half of the ninth scored Paul Beglis, who had tripled of the base off the right-center field fence.

The top of the first inning cruised by with Phillips striking out the side, while Cecchini tried to match him, striking out two of the first three batters in the bottom half of the inning.

The first hit of the game didn’t come until Tim Cutrera for South Lake Charles stepped up in the top of the third and ripped a single. However, Phillips quickly put an end to the threat as he retired the next two batters in order.

Daniel Boone Little League got into the hit column in the bottom of the fourth-inning on a single by Beau Burkett, who was stranded on first when Cecchini fanned Ford Zitsch to end the inning.

“I went out there and knew I was going to get the job done,” said Cecchini, who finished his six innings of work, giving up only one hit, while striking out seven.

“Ryan gave every ounce of everything he had,” said Midwest manager Jeff Echelmeier.

Both pitchers had their help in the field to keep their shutouts alive. In the bottom of the fifth, a one-out walk was erased as the Southwest team turned a 5-4-3 double play. “It helps every pitcher if you have good defense,” said Cecchini..

Not to be outdone, in the top of the sixth-inning, the Midwest’s Zitsch made an outstanding grab moving to his right on a hard-hit line drive by South Lake Charles leadoff hitter Tanner Hebert.

After recording two quick outs in the bottom of the sixth, South Lake Charles manager Josh Corman chose to intentionally walk Phillips with the bases empty. The inning became even more promising when the next batter, Landon Clapp, drew a walk to put runners at second and third. Following a wild pitch, the Southwest All-Stars had the potential winning run on third base. Cecchini didn’t back down, however, and with two strikes, he induced a soft line drive to shortstop to end the inning.

“He (Cecchini) knows how to pitch,” said manager Josh Corman. “Starting him was the best thing for our team and that’s what we did.”

Extra innings began in a promising fashion for the Southwest team as Von Rosenberg reached first on an error. After a failed sacrifice bunt attempt that resulted in a fielders’ choice to second base, Cecchini looped a single just over the head of second base. Similar to the bottom of the sixth-inning, a wild pitch put the potential winning runs on second and third with two outs however, relief pitcher Landan Clapp erased the scare with a strikeout.

Beglis quickly struck out the side after coming in to relieve Cecchini in the bottom of the seventh.

The break came in the top of the ninth when Beglis led off the inning with the three-bagger.

“I was just thinking to hit the ball in the gap the other way and I saw my coach waiving me to third,” said Beglis.

The very next batter, Von Rosenberg, put South Lake Charles on the board with a deep fly ball to centerfield that scored Beglis from third.

“I was just trying to pop the ball up to the outfield and get the run across,” said Von Rosenberg.

Zaunbrecher easily worked his way through the bottom half of the inning surrendering only a walk while striking out two, including the final batter to end the game and get the win.

“It helps a ton pitching in front of cameras in the regionals,” said Zaunbrecher of his relief performance in front of the 13,800 spectator crowd.

“You have to give a lot of credit to their pitchers,” said Midwest manager Echelmeier. “They did a good job of changing speed. That was just a good baseball game. We just didn’t get a key hit when we needed it.”



2006, Little League Baseball Incorporated
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