Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Hero Time for Oregon Little Leaguers...Again

I just watched one of the more fun baseball games since the Diamondbacks edged the Yankees in Game 7 of the World Series. Okay, the Illinois Little League team had a few errors and their pitcher, who was laughing it up in the early endings with strikeout after strikeout, ended the game crying for most of the last inning. But the Oregon team made one dazzling defensive play after another, starting with this little kid in right who caught two nasty curving fly balls, either of which would have led to huge trouble. Then this second baseman named Sam Albert took over the game. Illinois had gone ahead 2 nothing and their cocky pitcher was on cruise control. One Oregon batter got on with an error by the shortstop and then Sam laced a smash all the way to the fence. He also had the best strategy in a Little League game: Continue running and force the other team to throw you out. When they messed that up, he was home. 2-2. The Oregon team scored in the top of the 6th on a Little League suicide squeeze, and added an insurance run on more Illinois screw-ups. The bottom of the 6th featured the bases loaded including one kid who got beaned. One run went in on a past ball and with the tying run on third, Illinois hit a hot smash towards the middle. Sam Albert moved to his right like a major leaguer, made the grab and fired to first. The ball was fast and in the dirt but the 1st baseman came up with it. Game over. Wow, what excitement. Now tomorrow my hometown team from Dhahran, Saudi Arabia plays Japan. This could end up with the town I was born in playing the town I've lived in since 1975. I'll stick with Dhahran but this Oregon team made a lot of fans on ESPN tonight.


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