Little League World Series

Game 14: Southwest 14 vs. New England 1

Texas Two-Steps Past Connecticut

Pearland, Texas powers their way to a 14-1 victory over Fairfield, Conn.

Author: Mark Price

Source: South Williamsport, Pa.

Date/Time: Sunday, August 22, 2010, 8:00pm ET

It only took the Texas All-Stars two innings to jump out to an early 8-0 lead against Minnesota in their opening game on Friday. When their Game 2 opponent Connecticut checked the scoreboard after two innings on Sunday, they saw the same numbers: 8-0, Texas.

The spark in both cases has been a home run by one of Texas’s first two hitters. Friday it was home run by No. 2 hitter Blake Toler that ignited the Southwest representatives ahead early. Sunday it was leadoff man Beau Orlando’s turn, as he stroked the second pitch of the game over the center field wall.

That home run paved the way to a 14-1 mercy-rule victory over New England in Pool B play on Sunday night at Howard J. Lamade Stadium. The win assures Texas a spot in the Pool B final on Tuesday night. Connecticut, meanwhile, falls into the loser’s bracket with a game against Washington Monday at noon at Lamade Stadium.

“We came out ready to hit obviously,” said Southwest manager Mike Orlando. “I’m pretty pleased with that to start it off, kind off broke the tension. We just kind of never stopped from there.”

Texas failed to score again in the first but broke the game open with seven runs in the second, highlighted by four Southwest doubles to make the score 8-0. Connecticut never recovered from the unleashing of the Texas bats.

“We got beat by a great team tonight,” said New England Manager Chris Daley. “They came out swinging, and there’s really not a lot left to say than that.”

As impressive as the Texas offense was, the pitching staff may have been more dominant, striking out 10 of 18 batters faced on the night. Connecticut seemed mesmerized by the pitchers from Pearland, as six batters looked at strike three before heading back to the dugout.

The real genius of the Texas pitching, though, was stifling rallies after giving up leadoff doubles in the first two innings.

“That’s a big momentum kill,” said Daley.

Connecticut did finally plate a run in the third to cut the lead to 12-1. But the Texans once again ended the scoring threat by striking out two batters to end the inning.

Despite the outcome of tonight’s game, manager Daley is hopeful going into tomorrow’s elimination game versus Washington.

“That’s the great thing about being 12,” he said. “They’re going to be fine. They’re going to be right back at it.”

He added, “I have a lot of confidence. It’s an elimination game, and we’ll be ready.”

Texas, on the other hand, will enter Tuesday night’s matchup against the Connecticut/Washington winner with a full stable of arms. After using six pitchers in six innings on Friday against Minnesota, the Texas squad called on three pitchers in four innings tonight.

“We’re set,” said Manager Orlando. “I think we’re where we want to be on Tuesday’s game. I can’t imagine it being better obviously.”

No Texas pitcher has thrown more than 35 pitches yet, though five have thrown 34 or 35.

Another milestone yet to happen for the Texas team is Jake Orlando’s first out at the plate. After going 4-for-4 with two home runs and five RBI in Friday’s game, he went 2-for-2 tonight with a double and an RBI.

Jake’s reaction to it all?

“Pretty cool.”