Heading into Monday’s elimination game at the Little League World Series, Coquitlam’s team representing Canada was fearful of Curacao’s batters.
Turns out their opponent’s pitching wasn’t too shabby either.
Curacao smacked eight runs on nine hits while starting pitcher Keven Rosina allowed just one run on three hits in a complete-game 8-1 victory that eliminated the local Little Leaguers from further play at the international tournament. Both teams committed two errors.
Rosina also stuck out seven Coquitlam batters, while walking just one. He threw 73 pitches, well short of the limit of 85 mandated by Little League rules.
Coquitlam starter Timothy Piasentin surrendered seven runs on eight hits in four-and-two-thirds innings. He also recorded eight strikeouts before he reached the pitch limit and was switched out for Brady Dorwart.
Coquitlam managed to get two runners on base with one out in the top of the first inning, but failed to cash in either when Kai Brankovic flied out to end the threat.
Curacao, however, took full advantage of its opportunity by scoring twice on three hits in its half of the inning. They then added another two in their next at bat while Rosina and his infielders, who teamed up for a double play in the second inning, continued to make short work of Coquitlam batters.
"The Caribbean is a really strong team," Canada manager Bruce Dorwart said after the game. "They've got some good hitters."
The top of the fourth inning had a promising start for the local 11- and 12- year-olds when Piasentin stroked a lead-off line drive to centrefield, but he was left stranded when the next three batters were retired.
Curacao put four more runs across in the bottom of the fifth inning, presenting Coquitlam’s batters with a daunting challenge for its last at-bat in the top of the sixth.
Dorwart said his charges remained optimistic.
"We had comebacks all summer," he said. "They still had that glimmer of hope."
Brady Dorwart gave life to that glimmer when he led off with a single to right field. Then, after Nolan Loverin lined out to center, Piasentin reached base on an error, with slugger Matt Shanley next in the batter’s box.
Shanley, however, hit a fly ball to centerfield that was caught for the inning’s second out.
Kainoah Brankovic was then hit by a pitch to load the bases, until a wild pitch by Rosina allowed Dorwart to scamper home from third.
But that was as good as it would get for Coquitlam’s offence, which was finally retired from the tournament when Everett Bertsch grounded out to the pitcher.
Bruce Dorwart he was proud of his side, that won one of its three games.
"It was quite a summer for this team," he said. "We'll remember this for the rest of our lives."