BABE RUTH WORLD SERIES Youngstown wins opener, 3-2
The 14-year-old stars defeated Washington's Hazel Dell-Metro.
By NATE CROSSMAN
SPECIAL TO THE VINDICATOR
QUINCY, Mass. -- Youngstown Babe Ruth pitcher Cory Hill carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning of Friday's World Series opener.
Of the three hits he would eventually allow, two of them were infield singles. At the plate, he singled home a run.
Despite all of this, Hill felt like he had let his 14-year-old team down when Washington's Hazel Dell-Metro team scored twice in the sixth inning to grab a one-run lead.
So when Youngstown answered with two of its own in the seventh, Hill wanted the chance to pick them back up.
Hill struck out the last two batters he faced in the bottom of the seventh to slam the door on his team's 3-2 win in the opening game of the Babe Ruth 14-year-old World Series at Adams Field.
Play California today
The Ohio Valley region champs will play their second game of pool play today at 5:30 p.m. against California's Tri-Valley.
"I started it, so I wanted to finish it," Hill said about the seventh.
Youngstown's ace looked like he might throw the first no-hitter of his career. Through five innings he allowed only three base runners, on a pair of walks and an error. But he ran into trouble in the sixth.
Hazel Dell-Metro's Dean Breshears led off with an infield single and went to second when Jeff Ames was hit by a pitch. Mychal Harrington made sure the Pacific Northwest champs' first runner in scoring position would not be stranded, singling between third base and shortstop to score Breshears and tie the game 1-1.
Nick Dieringer's fielder's choice scored Ames to give his team a 2-1 lead.
"It was pretty tough because you think you've got it then all the sudden they pop one open," Hill said. "But that's how baseball goes."
The bottom of Youngstown's lineup ignited the winning rally. With one out Shawn Roman and Shane Wagner, the eighth and ninth batters, singled to put the tying run in scoring position and relief pitcher
Cody Schaffer out of the game. His replacement, Ames, had not blown a save in regular season or tournament play. But his second pitch bounced off the catcher's glove to score pinch runner Nick Crum and tie the game at 2-2.
After fouling two pitches off Andrew Fitzgerald lined a single into right field to score pinch runner Nick Dinello and give his team a 3-2 lead.
Despite making a visit to Hill in the sixth inning and the seventh, Youngstown coach Al Franceschelli stuck with his ace.
"Our pitcher was throwing a phenomenal game," Franceschelli said. "I never had any second thoughts about whether I was going to pull him."
Youngstown knows its way around a Babe Ruth World Series. Franceschelli's 14-year-old team won it all in 2003, the last time it was in Quincy.
Experience has taught him that winning the opening game is important, even though going undefeated in the four-game pool play round is not vital.
"This is the hardest tournament to win at any level and you've got to get that first one under your belt," Franceschelli said. "It makes the kids relax for their second game and it kind of gives us an edge."