Little League World Series

Game 4: Great Lakes 16 vs. Mid-Atlantic 6

Hamilton starts quick, wins big

Great Lakes champions score 16 runs in first game of the day

Author: Teddy Cahill

Source: South Williamsport, Pa.

Date/Time: Saturday, August 21, 2010, 11:00am ET

Hamilton, Ohio, made sure it caught the worm Saturday morning.

The Great Lakes champions sent 12 batters to the plate and scored eight runs in the top of the first inning. By the time Toms River, N. J., got off the field, it had used three pitchers, made two errors and dug itself a deep hole.

The hole was ultimately too deep for Toms River to overcome, and Hamilton won 16-6.

It wasn’t the first time this season Hamilton put a lot of runs on the board early, but it was a welcome sight for the team.

“I was really excited to jump on a team like that,” starting pitcher Jarod Morrison said. “We’ve done it all season, but to do it in the Little League World Series that was really awesome and amazing.”

The eight-run outburst was capped by a two-run home run by Jacob Jones. The ninth hitter in Hamilton’s lineup added a three-run home run in the fourth inning. He finished the game 2-for-3 with five RBI.

Manager Ken Coomer said Jones has been hitting better since arriving in Williamsport. Jones, however, wasn’t as sure what sparked him Saturday.

“I have the potential,” he said. “I just don’t use it.”

Jones’s first-inning shot came off Jeff Ciervo, who relieved starter Joey Rose after just five batters. Rose (0-1) did not record an out and allowed four runs. Ciervo didn’t make it through the inning either, facing six batters in 2/3 of an inning before being removed.

Manager Paul Deceglie said he took out Rose before he reached 20 pitches because he simply didn’t have it Saturday. Because he only threw 15 pitches, Rose will be able to pitch in Sunday’s elimination game.

Ciervo also will be available after throwing only 20 pitches, but Deceglie said Ciervo was feeling nauseous and he didn’t want to take a risk.

“I didn’t want to take chances because these are kids,” he said.

Despite the eight-run deficit, Toms River came out swinging in their half of the first. Rose helped atone for his poor pitching with a three-run home run to cut Hamilton’s lead to five runs.

Though Hamilton added a run in the second, Toms River kept chipping away and scored three more runs in the bottom of the inning. Kevin Blum delivered a two-run triple and then scored on a groundout.

Down just three runs, Deceglie said he thought his team would win the game.

“I thought we were getting to that pitcher,” he said. “But give him credit; he shut them down after two innings.”

Though Morrison (1-0) started the game shakily, giving up six runs on five hits in two innings, he was able to settle in.

The right-hander went 4 2/3 innings and struck out nine before reaching the maximum pitch count.

As Toms River began to creep back into the game, Coomer admitted to being nervous.

“Toms River is a great program,” he said. “But I was confident we would score some more runs.”

And Hamilton didn’t disappoint its manager. The Great Lakes champions batted around again in the fourth inning. They hit two home runs and scored four runs in the inning. It could have been an even bigger inning, but Hamilton left the bases loaded.

It was a blow Toms River simply couldn’t bounce back from. Hamilton would score three more runs, becoming the first team to score 16 runs in a game since Chinese Taipei performed the feat last year against Ramstein Air Base.

“We took a beating today,” Deceglie said. “You can’t give up eight runs in the first inning and expect to win a game.”