Canada’s win assures deep LLWS run
A closer look at the 7-3 win by White Rock-South Surrey LL, British Columbia, Canada over Luz-Maracaibo LL, Maracaibo, Venezuela Sunday afternoon at Volunteer Stadium.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Reid Hefflick’s three-run home run. Hefflick’s home run gave Canada an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first and gave his team all the momentum.
CANADA PLAYER OF THE GAME: Reid Hefflick. After going hitless in Canada’s 12-2 opening win over Italy, Hefflick started the game with a bang with his 3-run first-inning bomb. He finished the game going 2 for 4. Hefflick also earned the win on the mound, throwing 3 2/3 innings of five-hit ball while giving up just two earned runs and striking out seven.
BIG INNING: Canada first and third. Each inning started with the first two runners getting on base followed by three-run home runs from Hefflick and Nathaniel Factor.
BEST EFFORT: It’s Hefflick again. He bounced back from a hitless effort against Italy and gave Canada the early 3-0 lead and kept a potent Venezuelan offense down.
HOME RUNS: After back-to-back hit by pitches from Venezuelan pitcher Dario Cardozo to lead off the game, Reid Hefflick took a first-pitch fastball about 240 feet to center field, hitting the bottom of the camera tower, to score Robert Orr and Chase Marshall, giving Canada a 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the first, after a dropped strikeout, Jonney Rosario hit a line-drive home run, about 235 feet, to left-center field to cut the Canada lead to 3-2.
In the top of the third, Canada’s Nathaniel Factor extended his team’s lead to five with a 3-run, 235-foot blast to center field.
FLASHING LEATHER: Canada relief pitcher Reece Usselman snagged a bouncing grounder out of the air, relaying it to second base for the game-ending 1-4-3 double-play. Usselman stranded two runners and earned the save in the process.
WHAT THE ADULTS SAY: “It’s an honor and a privilege. We thought we had a quality team that could win the Canadian nationals. We faced some good competition along the way. But we believed in these boys,” said Canadia manager Ryan Hefflick. ” But for these boys to wear Canada on their chest, I mean it might be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Hopefully it’s not. We just told these boys, we’ve meet our goal and now you just need to enjoy the experience and have fun and play some ball.”
WHAT THE KIDS SAY: “It’s just been an amazing day. All those things combined, it just makes for the best day as a baseball player. Just meeting those professional players, hitting a home run in the Little League World Series and pitching the way you wanted to,” Reid Hefflick said. “It just feels really good.”
WHAT IT MEANS: Canada beats Venezuela for the first time in nine tries at the Series and earns a spot in the final three of the International field for the first time since 1998. Canada doesn’t play until Wednesday at 3 p.m. where it takes on Seoul, South Korea. Venezuela plays the Caribbean today at 6 p.m. at Volunteer.