Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Georgia Wins Pitching Classic

No one pitched any no-hitters in the championship game of the Little League World Series, but a kid named Kyle Carter made history when he won his fourth game of the tournament.

Carter gave up just one run in three starts and one relief appearance as Georgia stormed to the second straight championship for a U.S. team.

Carter and the other all stars from the Columbus Little League of Georgia beat the team from Kawaguchi City, Japan, 2-1, in the title game Monday afternoon.

The game winner came on a two-run home run by Cody Walker, a screaming line drive over the left-center field fence. Japan has played smallball to take a 1-0 lead. Go Matsumota hit a run-scoring single in the third inning to give the Asians the early lead.

Carter gave up three hits and struck out 11 for the win. Besides yielding the home run to Walker, Matsumota was almost perfect. He struck out nine batters and gave up only three hits.

Both pitchers regularly threw major-league-equivalent 100-m.p.h. pitches and spotted their balls perfectly. Only rarely did the pitchers leave the pitch over the plate.

As expected, home plate umpire Troy Carmont tightened the strike zone for the championship game. Had the strike zone remained as expansive as it was throughout the LLWS, both pitchers might very well have brought no-hitters into the sixth inning.

Japan appeared to have a chance in the sixth inning when carter walked one batter and hit another, but he settled down to retire the side without further incident.

The championship was the second for a team from Georgia. In 1983, the team from the Atlanta suburb of Marietta took the championship with a 3-1 victory over the Dominican Republic.

Georgia’s victory marked only the second time U.S. teams won back-to-back titles on the field. The teams from Kirkland, Wash., and Marietta won titles in 1982 and 1983. Long Beach, Calif., won consecutive titles in 1992 and 1993, but the first title came on a forfeit because of rules violations.

A team from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, won last year’s Little League World Series. That series is recounted in Little League, Big Dreams.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charles: Thanks for your blog and book- it was timley and gave insight to this years LLWS. A few observations:
1)The fences moved back 25 feet made a difference- they could go back further.
2) The control of the media and adults to manipulate the game was again a factor from regionals to LLWS.
3)The growth of CRWS will have an impact on LLWS in the future in terms of the level of play and media coverage.
I went to the games in Aberdeen- LLWS has a BIG media advantage, but CRWS is growing and geeting more attention. Next year, it will feature 50/70 diamond, stealing and running to first on dropped third strike by the catcher.

4:02 PM  
Blogger Charlie Euchner said...

Thanks a lot, David. Cal Ripken's decision to go 50/70 is huge. It means that he's in touch with the changing realities of today's young athletes -- bigger, healthier bodies, with a need to play a more well-rounded game and not just powerball. I would keep an eye on Cal's interactions with ESPN, the Versus network (now called OLN), and other broadcasting possibilities. If Cal Ripken is not working hard to reshape the face of youth baseball, he's doing a pretty good impersonation of someone who is. Whatever happens with Little League and other community leagues and travel baseball organizations, I do believe that we need to find a way to make sure that games are playful as possible and engage as many kids all summer long.

6:12 PM  
Blogger epken said...

Charles I too want to thank you for the blog. I plan on getting the book soon and reading it on vacation. Before you guys put the RIP in Little League, don't forget it's still much larger than any other youth organization. What you see on TV is not all that Little League is all about. The 50-70 game is not pretty in recreation ball. I've seen 50-70 at the tournament level also. Not impressed. People keep saying real baseball. Right. Real baseball where no catcher can throw anybody out and most pitchers can't hold anybody on. Little League was one of the greatest games ever invented, and it will be around for a long time. Little League needs to worry about staying the community league that it is, and not worry about getting the best players or worry about what other leagues are doing. Little League is about community and the relationship between player and parent. As long as they keep those principles they'll be fine for many years to come.

11:30 PM  
Blogger Charlie Euchner said...

Thanks, Epkin.
The 60-foot bases still make sense for the community-level ball and that 70 foot bases make sense for the bigger and/or more athletic boys. In one or two blogs, I suggest that LL essentially have two divisions -- one to recover community ball (which could play all summer long rather than stop so the studs could form all-star teams) and one to acknowledge the stronger athletes who go on to make the bid for Williamsport. In do believe that 60-foot bases are too small for the kids playing in tournaments. Most important top me is that we find a way to prevent the worst excesses for all kids, whether they're the less-talented guys or the superstars.

4:13 AM  
Blogger epken said...

I agree somewhat, but you have to remember Williamsport is the best 16 of 7,000. It really isn't part of the majority of Little Leaguers. The only reason you so more 13s this year is because they moved the date back. Pony League just announced there moving all their regions dates to April 30 and in three years there moving the date to Jan. 1. Do you no if Little League plans on doing this? Cal Ripken won't even have the 46-60 in a few years. 46-60 is what makes Little League, Little League. One thing that our league does that I'm sure you'll like is the kids who don't make the all-star team play on what we call the American All-stars. We form a few teams and I work with other teams in and out of the district to send me teams who don't make their all-star district teams. It has become very popular. We make sure that the tournament is round-robin much like the Little League regions. In fact it has become so popular that a couple of leagues in the district have kids that would rather play on the American team because there guaranteed more games. I've even had one parent from another league who loved the concept so much offer to give our league money to make sure we keep it going every year. You should see the kids play, it's like there world series. Now other leagues are starting to do the same thing so the kids can play throughout July. So if you take t-ball away from our league were up to about 40-45 percent of the kids in our league play all-stars. No bad.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Ede said...

We are a league where the majority of larger leagues in our area have shifted to Cal Ripken. Our league is having an identity crisis...Is it better to stay little league and be the big fish in what is becoming locally a small pond? Or are we better off moving to Cal Ripken with the rest of Louisville? Thoughts...

5:59 PM  
Blogger F & M said...

I echo a previous comment, that Little League may be represented, in many people's minds, by the LL World Series, but that the focus should remain on the local program - where the fences are still far off for most hitters, and participation is key. And this also addresses your other post - suggesting extending the boundaries. What the boundaries - when enforced, accomplishes, is parity between the majority of leagues. LL doesn't need to make the boundaries larger, it needs to enforce the boundary rules, so that the average league can compete in tournaments. This may be where LL is the most timid, afraid to drive successful leagues into the arms of the competition, but again - the ideal we should be striving for is not the creation of professional ballplayers, but the creation of positive recreational experiences for the most players possible. One thing I do advocate for, is LLWS that features actual teams from local LL divisions. Not all-stars, but a national competition for real LL teams: that would be exciting, and would drive home the point that LL represents the community first, baseball second.

6:41 PM  

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