Oregon’s Price earns win on mound in final game

A closer look at the Salem, Oregon’s 4-3, win over Bologna, Italy at Lamade Stadium in a crossover consolation game.

PLAY OF THE GAME: Frederico Tamburini’s catch in the fourth inning — After Oregon put up three runs in the third inning and threatening again in the fourth with Aedan Sale on second base, Oregon’s Riley Wilson skied a 2-0 pitch to left field. Tamburini back pedaled from his shortstop position and reached out for a diving catch to make the first out of the inning. Tamburini jogged back to his position to a standing ovation from the Italian family section and the rest of Lamade Stadium. He showed nothing but smiles and a tip of his cap after the play.

ITALY PLAYER OF THE GAME: Christian Sberlati — The speedy pinch runner scooted around the bases in the third inning to score Italy’s first run at the Little League World Series. Gabriele Cirina was hit by Oregon pitcher Gavin Price and Sberlati moved to second as Price hit Leonardo Delfrate, then scored when Alex Giovanardi hit a sac fly to right field. Sberlati later scored in the fifth inning as a pinch runner for Delfrate.

OREGON PLAYER OF THE GAME: Gavin Price — The Oregon pitcher pitched his heart out in his final World Series game. Price threw 83 pitches, recorded nine strikeouts and scattered three runs on five hits in five innings. Price used his pitches effectively to keep Italy guessing until the later part in the game. A few errors and hit batters allowed Italy runners on but Price did a good job at stranding five runners on base. Price was also 2 for 3 at the plate with two singles and an RBI.

BIG INNING: Oregon’s third — Oregon used a three-run burst in the third inning to break a 1-1 tie with Italy and hung onto that three-run lead to win the game. Wilson led off with a single, Henry Mhoon walked, and Avery Mhoon reached on an error which scored Wilson. Gavin Price came up to hit a RBI single to score Henry before Avery scored on a pass ball during Thomas VanBisher’s at-bat. Those runs were enough to hold off a late game surge which saw Italy score two runs in the fifth inning.

BEST EFFORT: Italy’s defense — In the first two innings, Italy recorded eight outs. With a runner on third and two outs, Italy pitcher Alex Giovanardi struck out Carson McNally for the third out in the inning, but a pass ball meant McNally could take first base and Oregon’s Andrew Mhoon got caught in a rundown on the third base line before being tagged out by the catcher. In the second inning Giovanardi struck out Cameron Van Kempen to open the inning, but Van Kampen reached on a passed ball. Giovanardi then worked three ground ball outs to strand Van Kampen at third base.

FLASHING LEATHER: Oregon’s Spencer Shortis — Shortis made major league level plays at third base look easy in the sixth inning. Shorti recorded the first two outs of the inning charging hard on two ground balls, scooping them up and firing a strike to Jacob Hoda at first base. The first out Shortis fielded the ball bare handedly, planted and just beat the runner, Alessio Ingraito, for the out.

WHAT THE ADULTS SAY: “We know that we can play baseball at this level. We have the youngest starters in the tournament and this was a great experience for the team,” Italy manager Francesco Lamanuzzi said through a translator. “I am very happy and proud of the way they played. I’ve been coaching for the past 40 years and this is a career high for me because I only work with the little league players. I hope to see you all next year, and next year, and next year.”

“It’s such a crazy experience. We were watching the World Series last year after our fall ball season and it’s like you never think about ‘oh that’s where we are going to be next year.’ It’s been an awesome experience,” Oregon manager Travis Price said.

WHAT THE KIDS SAY: “I’ll remember pitching against the Japan team.” Giulio Bissa said.

“Playing against Japan and making a foul ball catch against them.” Gabriele Cirina said.

“Playing with your brother is a lot better than playing with a few of your friends because we have that connection where you know when something is going to happen, he is playing right next to me so that we can help each other out and see what we can do better,” Henry Mhoon said about his experience playing with twin brother Andrew at the World Series.

WHAT IT MEANS: Both teams were eliminated from title contention and played in their final game.