Game 22
4 vs. Mid-Atlantic 1

Tuesday, August 22, 2006
3:00PM ET

Ahwatukee Still Alive for Semis
Chase’s Pitching and Ahwatukee’s Clutch Hitting Enough to Beat Staten Island 4-1

By Brandon Miller
Special Correspondent

Ahwatukee keeps their hopes of advancing to the U.S. Semifinals alive as they pound out four runs on ten hits to defeat Staten Island 4-1 in front of 13,600 at Lamade Stadium.

The victory for Ahwatukee means they’re into the semis with a Great Lakes loss tonight against Georgia. Should Great Lakes get the victory, a tie-breaker would be used to determine who advances from Pool A.

“We thought two (wins) was going to get us in when we first got to this tournament, but we’re realizing as it goes on that two is not going to get us in,” said Ahwatukee manager Thomas Kingery. “We need some help. We took care of what we needed to and hopefully things work out.”

When further pressed about whether he had worked out the tie-breaking math, manager Kingery responded, “I have done the math. Darn it’s a strange tie-breaker. I know the rules, but there’s a scenario where if you don’t score you can get in and if you do score you might get put out.”

Facing a must-win situation for their game against Staten Island, Ahwatukee chose to take yesterday off to help relieve some of the upcoming pressure.

“It was nice to have a day break because we’ve been playing baseball for so long, which is pretty fun, but it gets tiring after a while, so it was nice to have a day off,” said Chase Knox who went 2-for-2 with a run scored.

“I think the day away was absolutely what the kids needed,” said manager Kingery. “For them to just be with their parents, enjoy (Crystal Lake), row a boat, go down a slide, and all that, it was nice.”

As he did in their first game of the tournament, Ahwatukee ace Shaun Chase powered his team to victory with a stellar pitching performance, allowing an unearned run and two hits in six innings while striking out 10. He also went 2-for-3 with a homer and RBI.

“Sometimes I’m on, sometimes I’m off, and sometimes I’m right in the middle. Today it was just right in the middle,” said Chase, who downplayed his performance.

“Good pitching stops good hitting. We just didn’t hit,” said Staten Island manager Nick Doscher.

After singling home the first run of the game during his first at-bat, Chase crushed a no-doubter to centerfield in the third to force Staten Island pitcher Frank Smith from the game. The home run was Chase’s second of the tournament.

Contributing clutch hits to the offense, Justin Hyden poured in a solid 2-for-3 afternoon, which included two RBI. Hyden also showed off his leather making a sliding catch in left field amid a convergence of Ahwatukee fielders on a fly ball off the bat of Frank Smith in the fifth inning.

“Well, I was charging in and I didn’t know if Scott (Kingery) was going to call it, cause centerfield usually has charge of the outfield,” said Hyden. “So I was just running for the ball and I didn’t hear anything so I just went for it.”

This prompted his manager to ask, “Did you call it?”

“Yep,” said Hyden.

“Well all right,” responded manager Kingery.

In looking ahead to tonight’s game, which will decide their fate, the Ahwatukee All-Stars anticipate getting together to watch from the stands.

“We’re obviously hoping that Georgia wins and that they don’t let up a lot of runs, but however it goes, we know we did well,” said Knox.

In the event the team does make the U.S. Semifinals, manager Kingery likes his chances even without their ace being able to pitch.

“I think we’re loaded actually,” said manager Kingery. “We have three kids, including Chase (Knox), Hunter Rodriguez, and David Hulls, all who can throw.”

Kingery even jokingly added that, if needed, “Justin Hyden throws a great knuckleball.”

The loss ends Staten Island’s run at the Little League Baseball World Series with a 0-3 record, and for Chris Goetz, broken bones.

Goetz suffered two fractures in his right leg while sliding into home plate on Sunday night.

“Losing your best pitcher takes a lot out of you. (Goetz) was supposed to pitch today.” said manager Doscher. “Chris is what got us here.”

Their only run in the game came without even getting a hit. After walking the leadoff batter, a fielder’s choice, hit batsmen, passed ball, and wild pitch plated Joe Calabrese and made the score 4-1, which stood for the rest of the game.


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