The local team still hopes to advance to the final round.
By NATE CROSSMAN
QUINCY, Mass. -- Tri-Valley (Calif.) manager Frank Cox would not take the bait.
After his team beat Youngstown 4-1 in the Babe Ruth 14-year-old World Series on Saturday, Cox was asked if the win meant anything extra because Tri-Valley and Youngstown are considered the two best teams.
He smiled and answered no.
"I'm not a big believer in that," Cox said. "You just take a game at a time, respect who you play and play hard. If you go out and listen to everybody else you might not get there."
Youngstown's Al Franceschelli, however, was more than happy to use the loss as a motivational tool for his team.
"They've got a great team," Franceschelli said. "But I'm not taking second place to them I just got to tell you.
"I can't wait to see them in the final."
Two more pool games
Youngstown and Tri-Valley could very well meet in the final next Saturday. The top three teams in each six-team pool advance to the single-elimination round starting Thursday and both teams should reach that. Tri-Valley improved to 2-0, while Youngstown fell to 1-1 with two games remaining, including 11:30 a.m. today against Pittsfield (Mass.).
But on this afternoon Tri-Valley, whose players won the 13-year-old World Series, was the better team.
The Pacific Southwest region champs received seven strong innings from David Hart. The right-hander used his curve ball to keep free-swinging Youngstown off balance. Hart allowed just four hits and walked three.
Shane Wagner picked up the loss in 6 2/3 innings. On offense Tri-Valley didn't test Adams Field's deep fences, but it did execute the fundamentals.
Lead-off hitter Matt Meyer went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two stolen bases. He stole third base on his own in the top of the first inning and scored on a wild pitch to give his team a 1-0 lead.
"I didn't get the sign I just read the pitch," Meyer said.
Youngstown had a chance to swing the momentum of the game in its favor in the first inning. After retiring the first two batters Hart walked the next two. He struck out Kevin McCulloh but the ball got away from the catcher to load the bases. Cory Hill, however, flew out to the left fielder to end the threat.
Meyer was at it again in the fifth. He led off the inning with a single, stole second and scored on Scott David's double. David scored on Kyle Gallegos' RBI single to make it 3-0.
Youngstown finally got on the board in the sixth. Jason Bagoly led off with a walk and was pinch ran for by Nick DiNello. DiNello reached second on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error by the shortstop to cut the deficit to 3-1. Tri-Valley scored one more time in the seventh on an RBI single by Stephen Piscotty before Wagner was lifted for Jared Turocy. Turocy induced a ground ball to third base to end the inning.
Despite a long meeting after the loss, Youngstown did not appear discouraged and Franceschelli talked about winning his second 14-year-old championship in three years.
"The kids realize you have to play and you have to play hard," Franceschelli said about the lessons learned from the loss. "I really thought we'd make the adjustment [on the pitcher] during the game and we didn't.
"But I'm confident we'll do just fine."