Game 7
3 vs. Caribbean 2

Saturday, August 19, 2006
4:00PM ET

Ortiz gives Mexico Walk-off Win
Mexico knocks off defending International champs Curacao 3-2

By Mark Rogoff
Special Correspondent

The magic continued at Howard J. Lamade Stadium on Saturday with the second walk-off hit in as many games.

This time it was Mexico, which got a two-run double from Jose Ortiz with one out in the bottom of the sixth to beat the defending International champs from Curacao, 3-2, before 7,800 rain-soaked fans.

“I felt really good when I hit the ball,” said Ortiz through interpreter Micah Hughes. “I felt good having won the game. I feel good because everyone else is happy.”

With a 2-1 lead in the sixth, Curacao skipper Michelangelo Celestina called on Mirangelo Muller to close it out after starter Sherman Lacrus gave up a lead-off single to Julio Vargas.

Muller walked the first batter Josue Barron, and both Barron and Vargas moved up a base on a wild pitch three pitches later. Muller got Roberto Guajardo to strike out, then came Ortiz, who laced a Muller offering over the fence on a hop.

“This is a great team, a disciplined team,” said Mexico manager Candelario Perez. “It’s a very positive team that regardless of winning of losing (during the game) will stay strong.”

Trailing 2-0 with two outs in the fifth, Mexico cut the deficit in half when Jorge Villafranca used all of his 4-foot-10, 146-pound frame to crush a towering solo homer beyond the shrubs in left-centerfield.

Curacao threatened to tack on another run in the bottom of the fifth, when Carolina stroked a two-out double and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Lacrus stepped to the plate and hit a hot-shot grounder to third baseman Josue Barron, who snared the ball and threw to first for the out.

“I feel very happy about it,” said Villafranca of the home run. “It really helped the team get sparked up because we were down. We had lost a little bit of our excitement. Being down 2-0, and having hit the home run, I noticed a spark. I was really grateful that I was able to help my team.”

Curacao pushed across its only runs in the third on Rayshelon Carolina’s two-run double. Mexico starter Omar Zamora worked a complete-game three-hitter, striking out 12 and walking two.

When asked of his chances to defeat the defending International champs, Manager Perez said, “If we could get a good pitching performance from Zamora, then we could win. And he had a great performance, giving up only three hits.

“I feel really content and happy,” said Zamora. “The goal was to get to the Little League World Series and obviously to win the championship. I feel like I helped achieve one step closer to our ultimate goal.”

Curacao’s Lacrus went five-plus innings, allowing two runs on seven hits. He fanned eight and did not walk a batter.

“He was tired,” said Celestina of his starting pitcher. “He told me he was a little tired, and I took him out of the game. They beat us … they are good. They have a really good team.”


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