Pitcher Peto Kirkwood leads the team past Pearl City, Hawaii 5-0.
By ANTHONY GAGLIANO
Published August 21, 2004
Showing poise not many 14-year-olds possess, Peto Kirkwood pitched his team into the U.S. championship game of the Junior Little League World Series on Friday. Kirkwood scattered seven hits in Palma Ceia/Bayshore's 5-0 shutout of Pearl City, Hawaii.
"He had his own gameplan," assistant Wil Ramos said. "He called his own game and pitched the game of his life."
PC/Bayshore can join Belmont Heights and Tampa Bay Little Leagues as the third team from Tampa to win the junior (13- and 14-year-old) division World Series when it faces Venezuela at 5 p.m. today in Taylor, Mich.
Kirkwood didn't need to worry about offense after Michael Lashbrook - the only other returner from last year's team that lost in the regional final - connected with a solo home run in the first inning. Located down and away, the pitch seemed almost impossible to hit, but the left-handed Lashbrook slammed an opposite-field shot to set the tone.
"If I was pitcher, I'd throw it in that exact same spot 10 times out of 10," Ramos said. "I don't think anybody but Lashbrook could have hit that pitch out of the park."
Figuring it couldn't beat Lashbrook, Pearl City resorted to the Barry Bonds treatment - it didn't pitch to him again. The intentional walks to Lashbrook backfired, though, as No. 3 hitter Carter Ilgenfritz came through with the other four RBIs for PC/Bayshore on a pair of two-run singles.
Pearl City isn't the first team Lashbrook bedeviled this tournament.
"We were playing (Massapequa) New York the other night, and my brother John was on his phone with (manager) Dan (Kirkwood) and he said, "Don't you think this pitcher is great?' " Ramos said. "On the next pitch, Lashbrook hit one out and he radioed him back and said, "What you think of this hitter?' "