The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Almost no one is expecting Las Vegas to make short work of Chicago this time in LLWS US Final
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - Things have come easy at the Little League World Series for the team from Las Vegas.
The West Region champions have steamrolled three opponents by a combined score of 33-5, cruising along mostly under the radar.
Players expect things to get a lot tougher when they renew old acquaintances with Chicago's Jackie Robinson West in the U.S. final on Saturday.
"We played them before and beat them 13-2," said Austin Kryszczuk, who had three hits in as many at-bats, scored three times and had three RBIs in that game. "We expected a dogfight that game. But (this time) it's not going to be 13-2. This game is going to be, like, 2-1. A very tight game."
Maybe so. But Las Vegas has had an easier time in the tournament than scorekeepers have had spelling Kryszczuk.
In the Aug. 17 meeting with Chicago, Las Vegas outhit Jackie Robinson West 13-2 behind Brennan Holligan's sterling pitching. He struck out six and walked two, making short work of the game thanks to the offensive onslaught backing him.
Leadoff hitter Zach Hare, who also drove in three runs and scored three against Chicago, believes he and his teammates have to guard against being overconfident — or expecting a repeat in the rematch.
"Some people may think it's going to be easy or something," he said. "We'll just have to keep our minds straight and work harder."
A Las Vegas team had never before reached the Little League World Series. Now it's within one more win of taking on an International team — the winner between Seoul and Tokyo, also on Saturday — in the championship game a day later.
Despite its domination, Las Vegas has gone relatively unnoticed through the tournament.
East Region champ Philadelphia and megawatt star Mo'ne Davis have stolen a lot of the headlines — along with Chicago. The Jackie Robinson West squad is the first Urban Initiative team to reach the World Series since 2002.
Winning in obscurity is just fine with the team from the desert.
"It's not a bad deal," said coach Roland Watkins. "As (manager Aston Cave) called it the other day, we're sort of Team Incognito. We'd rather stay under the radar because that allows us to focus on the things we need to do."
Chicago manager Darold Butler actually believes the lopsided loss to Las Vegas helped his team focus in its 6-5 knockout win over Philadelphia.
"I really did feel like the game we lost was a blessing," Butler said.
Butler also believes his team might take it as a challenge, so thoroughly was it beaten in the first meeting.
"It's hard to beat a team twice," he said. "These guys here are so competitive and they want a shot. I can't see (this) game being exactly like it was the first time. We're going to be prepared."
Getting 12- and 13-year-olds to focus is an uphill task, as any parent knows. Certainly, coaches know it, too.
But Cave and his coaching staff must be doing a good job of it, because their team has run-ruled two teams already (an umpire calls the game when a team is up by 10 or more runs after the four innings).
"You never know what you're going to get, you never know who's going to show up at the field that day," is how Bob Kryszczuk, a coach and Austin's dad, put it. "As a coaching staff, we just try to keep them relaxed. They play much better when they're relaxed."
And it's much easier to relax when you're averaging 11 runs a game and winning by an average of more than nine runs a game.
Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RustyMillerAP
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
(1 of 50 articles for this week)09/21/2014 11:18 PM 0
ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Texas Rangers are determined to put a strong finish on a mostly miserable season.
Ryan Rua hit ...
Photo Store Gallery
- Detroit Tigers miss chance for sweep, lose 5-2 to Guthrie, Kansas City Royals
- Giants lose third straight to Padres, 8-2, to fall 4 1/2 games behind Dodgers
- Tanaka, returning from elbow injury, and rejuvenated Jeter lead Yankees over Blue Jays 5-2
- DeGrom fans 10 in 6 innings as Mets eliminate Braves from playoff contention with 3-game sweep
- Pirates ride Worley, late single by Martin and smart fielding to beat Brewers 1-0, extend lead
- Tripped up: Blue Jays lose to Yanks 5-2 for 1-6 trip and head home virtually out of contention
- Corey Kluber strikes out 14. Indians stay close in Wild Card race with 7-2 win over Minnesota
- Strasburg leads Nationals to 2-1 win over Marlins, completes 4-game sweep
- Toronto pitcher Marcus Stroman drops appeal; MLB cuts his suspension to 5 games
- Miley hit hard as Rockies complete four-game sweep of D-backs, 8-3
- Saying goodbye difficult task for Fish
- Umpire Joe West suspended for 1 game without pay for grabbing jersey of Phillies' Papelbon
- Goldeyes now out of season
- Former Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington apologizes to breaking wife's trust
- Kent Tekulve, former reliever and Pirates studio commentator, recovering from heart transplant
- Fan heckling Nationals star Bryce Harper in Atlanta ejected by veteran umpire Tim Welke
- Slumping Derek Jeter gets night off from Yankees' starting lineup
- Phillies' Burnett beaten by Padres, absorbs majors-worst 17th loss
- Orioles' celebration of AL East title was 17 years in the making
- Cardinals hit 3 home runs, beat Reds 8-4 and move closer to playoff spot
- Trophy Fish clinch North Division
- Goldeyes lick Saltdogs 7-6
- Goldeyes now out of season
- Goldeyes' game against Railcats pushed back
- Fish feast on 'Cats
- Fish fail to close the deal
- Fish dump Saltdogs in first playoff game
- Goldeyes playoff run over with 2-0 loss to Saltdogs
- Fish bats fall silent as Lincoln evens series
- Hernandez is first Fish hurler to win AA pitcher of the year
Ads by Google