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Long ball lifts Mexico over Uganda

August 18, 2012
By BEN BURROWS (bburrows@sungazette.com) , Williamsport Sun-Gazette

If it weren't for the fact that Lugazi Little League, from Lugazi, Uganda, was halfway across the world, you would have thought it was playing a home game at Volunteer Stadium on Saturday night in South Williamsport.

The fan support, similar to that which Clinton County's Keystone Little League received last year, gave Volunteer Stadium an electric feel.

The support, however, wasn't enough to stop a potent Mexico offense that hit four home runs to back a combined perfect game en route to a 12-0 win in four innings over the Middle East/Africa Region champs.

Mexico's Felix Diaz, Sebastian Cuellar and Joel Turrubiates combined on a perfect game while striking out nine of the 12 batters they faced.

All three pitchers mixed in breaking balls with fastballs, keeping Uganda off balance and making it hard to make any contact.

"I expected them to make a big change (from Friday's game)," Uganda manager Henry Odong said. "I don't know why they couldn't play. I don't blame them because this is the first time they are getting into such good international matches."

For the second game in a row, Mexico hit four home runs, including two from first baseman Andres Carrillo. Carrillo launched two solo shots, with the first coming in a five-run second inning and the second one coming in a seven-run third inning.

"This is a balanced team," Mexico manager Fernando Rios said through an interpreter. "They are all very well balanced. We had several home runs today but anybody on our team can hit a home run."

Along with launching four homers and having a player hit two in one game - Ramon Ballina hit two solo home runs of his own in Friday's loss to Canada - Mexico hit back-to-back home runs for the second time during this Series.

Carrillo and Felix Diaz hit back-to-back home runs in the midst of a seven-run third inning that put the finishing touches on Mexico's second round win.

"I feel great," Carrillo said through an interpreter. "I think we can really make it. We have a great team and we are in the fight so I think we can still win this thing."

Even in Friday's loss to Canada, Mexico showed off a powerful offense that should be able to keep it in any game. And the power isn't coming from one player, either, as six players have gone deep for Mexico.

"I trust all my guys," Rios said. "Sometimes a loss like (Friday's) is more productive to a team like ours because it gets them to react like they did today. I trust them very much and they came back and won today."

Not only did Mexico manage to score 12 runs on 13 hits, it was able to do so in what at times felt like a hostile environment.

Fans at Volunteer Stadium cheered at every opportunity for Uganda and were considerably less vocal when Mexico launched each of the four home runs.

"They (the Ugandan team) didn't expect it," Odong said. "They became so happy that people like them so much. Their reaction yesterday (at Friday's game) was so good."

 
 
 

 

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