Four more teams deal with elimination
Tom Hanks said there’s no crying in baseball. But after baseball? Caribbean Region champ San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, assistant coach Erick Contreras thought that was OK once his team was eliminated from the Little League World Series Monday afternoon at Volunteer Stadium.
“The season is over for us. I told the guys that now they can cry if they all want to cry,” Contreras said. “And they did.”
For Puerto Rico and the three other teams eliminated Monday, the rest of the week will be about possibly playing an extra pickup crossover game or two against other eliminated teams, thinking about what they’ve learned and experienced, and then getting ready for school.
Crossover games usually are played on the Little League complex practice fields in the mornings, without the trappings of bright lights, big crowds and television cameras. They generally pit U.S. teams vs. International ones. Four were scheduled as of Monday night.
Australia manager Glen Tovey’s team from Perth was eliminated from championship contention Saturday, but he said after his team’s consolation game Monday against Southwest titlist Corpus Christi, Texas, that his players wanted another challenge in a crossover game.
“We’re definitely a passionate people in Australia and we care in everything we do,” Tovey said. “Let’s shake off the nerves and cobwebs and we can have a go.”
Contreras doubted his team would play another game, but said there was plenty to take away from the opposition’s superior fundamentals.
“The discipline they have, especially (Taiwan), the Japanese team, they are very, very disciplined,” Contreras said. “We don’t have that. We need to learn from them, especially after the way we lost the game.
“I talked to the kids, we’re proud of them just to make it here, but they have to learn the things they did and then you’ll see.”
Corpus Christi manager Randy Ramirez wanted to play as well, and have a chance to extend the camaraderie players felt with each other.
“We’re taking friendships for a lifetime here, and you’ve got to remember they’re all kids,” Ramirez said. “That’s halfway around the world there, it’s a good experience. I enjoyed it, to be honest with you, and those coaches are very nice, both ways.”
For many, school either has started or is set to start. And while September in the U.S. means football season, there are other meanings elsewhere.
Ottawa, Ont., Canada manager Mark Keeping said some players soon would begin hockey tryouts, but not before ordering some pizza after Monday’s loss to Latin America champ Aguadulce, Panama, and looking forward to an appearance next week at a Toronto Blue Jays game.
Tovey said he’ll arrive in Australia on Aug. 29, have a meeting on Sept. 1 and then the first day of spring training will be on Sept. 2. Australia, with its opposite seasons from the northern hemisphere, has a different Little League calendar and will, in effect, be starting its 2014 season.
“It’s baseball season when I get off the plane,” Tovey said.