Marino’s 10th-inning single sends Canada further into International tourney

A closer look at Surrey, British Columbia, Canada’s, 2-1, 10-inning win over Barcelona, Spain, at Volunteer Stadium on Saturday.

PLAY OF THE GAME: It doesn’t get more dramatic at the Little League World Series than winning a game in extra innings to stay alive in the losers’ bracket. With one out in the 10th inning, Canada’s Joey Marino drilled a single to center field to drive in Nate Colina with the winning run. Colina easily scored, throwing his hands in the air and celerating near first base with his teammates as the Canada fans celebrated in the stands.

“I didn’t think he was actually going to score. I thought the bases were going to be loaded. It was crazy,” Marino said.

SPAIN PLAYER OF THE GAME: Lucas Iriarte — Spain’s No. 3 hitter absolutely crushed a home run in the top of the sixth inning which single-handedly kept the game alive. Spain was down to its final inning and facing elimination, and Iriarte sent a home run deep over the fence in center to tie the game and provide a little spark for Spain offensively. Prior to his home run, the Europe-Africe champions had just three hits, all of which were singles.

CANADA PLAYER OF THE GAME: Zaeden Pleasants — The Canadian pitcher relieved starter Jordan Jaramillo and was lights out on the mound. He threw 5 1/3 innings and struck out 12 batters. He allowed only one hit during that span — a solo home run in the top of the sixth — but kept frustrating Spain’s batters each inning. Canada put their faith in Pleasants to keep their tournament dreams alive and he delivered.

“He’s been great for us all year. He was a thrower before and now he’s becoming a pitcher and it’s showing every time. He shows up and pounds the zone. … He’s hard to hit and I’m lucky he’s on my side,” Canada manager Mike Marino said.

BIG INNING: Can you pick an inning other than Canada’s 10th here? Canada started the inning with back-to-back singles by Colina and Ian Huang to put two runners on base. After a strikeout, Marino drove a pitch up the middle which got past the centerfielder. Manager Mike Marino emphatically was signalling Colina to head home and he scored the game-winning run.

“We were hitting the ball hard a lot, so one time it had to fall,” Marino said.

BEST EFFORT: Spain center fielder Lucas Iriarte came up twice with enormous catches in the outfield. In the top of the seventh inning, he caught a deep drive as Canada had runners at first and second, preventing what could have been a game-ending hit. Then, an inning later, Iriarte came up clutch again, this time tracking down a flyball like a hawk in front of the fence, preventing what would have easily been a double and could have caused issues in the bottom of the eighth inning.

HOME RUNS: Iriarte crushed a ball well beyond the center field fence at Volunteer Stadium into a crowd of people in the top of the sixth inning which tied the game, 1-1.

FLASHING LEATHER: It didn’t seem like you were getting much past Spain third baseman Zachary Freer. Four times in Saturday’s game a Canadian batter drilled a shot at him. Each time he easily snagged it and got the out at first base with a strong throw.

WHAT THE ADULTS SAY: “I told them that I was proud of them and I couldn’t be more proud. They fought to the end, they gave everything they had,” Spain manager Oscar Roman said. “All that matters to me is to teach those kids is to continue to fight. Life is a continuous fight and for me as a coach it is one of the most important things. I was proud of them and they gave me the best baseball game I’ve ever seen and I was thankful.”

WHAT THE KIDS SAY: “I put that aside because it’s going to happen, happens to every Major League pitcher. So I’m kind of glad it happened so we could play extra innings,” Canada’s Zaeden Pleasants said of Spain’s game-tying home run in the sixth inning.

WHAT IT MEANS: Spain is eliminated from the tournament and plays in a consolation game Tuesday at Lamade Stadium at 11 a.m. against Idaho. Canada advances in the consolation bracket to play the loser of today’s South Korea/Mexico game at Volunteer Stadium on Monday at 6 p.m.

COMMENTS