Curacao (2-1) moves on to semifinals after 3-0 win over Guam (1-2)
in do-or-die game
By Mark Rogoff
Curacao has made a habit of advancing
out of pool play at the Little League Baseball World Series, making
plenty of splashes along the way.
In the last seven years beginning in 2001, just once has a team from
Curacao not moved on to the semi-final round. That year was 2006,
when a team from Pabao Little League went 1-2 in a group that
consisted of perennial powerhouses Japan and Mexico.
In fact, in six of the last seven years, Curacao has advanced to the
Now, in 2008, the Pabao All-Stars are one step closer to reaching
another International championship after a 3-0 win over Guam in a
do-or-die game at Volunteer Stadium to decide second place in Pool
C. A team from Matamoros, Mexico had already clinched the top spot
with a 3-0 record.
Curacao moves on to play Japan in Wednesday’s international
“Curacao expects us to be in the finals, so there was some
pressure,” manager Vernon Isabella said through an interpreter.
“Everyone is following all the games on TV.”
Curacao knocked on the door all game long, putting runners in
scoring position in each of the first four innings. But it wasn’t
until the fourth that the Caribbean champs were able to capitalize,
and they did so with the old first-and-third double steal.
With two outs and Dennis Gustina on first base and Entwin Reigina on
third, Gustina took off for second on a Nicholas Cruz offering to
Suenley Paulina. Catcher Brian Bunag’s throw went to second baseman
Mark Blas. Once Blas committed to chasing Gustina, Reigina broke for
home and slid in safely despite a late throw home from Blas.
“It’s very frustrating,” Isabella said of his team’s lack of timely
hitting. “I was asking the guys, ‘What’s happening here?’”
Curacao finally benefitted from a pair of timely hits in the fifth,
getting an RBI triple from Junters Dosset and a run-scoring single
from Tivon Faneyte for a pair of insurance runs.
Faneyte was also the one keeping Guam off the board. He tossed five
no-hit innings, while striking out nine and walking one. Faneyte
came on in relief of Claycandy Hariquez, who had to work out of
trouble in the first after allowing a hit and a walk.
Despite what appeared to be effectiveness on the mound, Faneyte was
not thrilled with his performance.
“That was not my best game, but not my worst game,” he said.
“Despite no hits, I did not have 100-percent control over my ball.”
Hariquez was also Curacao’s starting pitcher against Italy on
Monday, but was able to come back without any day’s rest because he
threw just 19 pitches in 1.2 innings of work. If he had thrown 20
pitches, Hariquez would have had to observe one day of rest.
Curacao and Japan have a long history in the single-elimination
rounds. The two teams have met in the International Championship on
five occasions from 2001-07. Japan has won four of those games. The
two clubs also met in the semi-final round in 2004, when Curacao was
victorious to advance to the international final.
© 2008, Little League Baseball
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