Hawaiian stars outslug Maitland

Associated Press
Published August 23, 2005

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - Dante Bichette Jr. is certainly making a name for himself at the Little League World Series.

But Michael Memea and the other West Oahu sluggers are turning in star performances themselves.

West Oahu of Ewa Beach, Hawaii, took an early lead thanks in part to Memea's second homer of the Series en route to a 10-0 win over Bichette and his Maitland teammates.

Both teams have clinched berths in the next round of the 10-day tournament, though West Oahu's imposing lineup of big boppers and aggressive baserunners makes it a favorite in the U.S. bracket.

Monday belonged to West Oahu (3-0), which has hit eight homers in the tournament.

"When we say it's time for batting practice, they say, "Oh, let's go!' When it's time for fielding practice, they start moaning," manager Layton Aliviado said.

Memea's third-inning homer against Maitland (2-1) just cleared the leftfield fence to give West Oahu a 5-0 lead.

Asked to describe his homer, Memea, 12, said, "I thought it was going to get caught," then turned to his teammates and laughed.

Bichette was one of Maitland's few bright spots, getting two of the four hits off ace Alaka'i Aglipay and continuing his stellar performance in the tournament.

Friday, Bichette struck out 11 and hit a three-run homer late in a 7-3 win over Davenport, Iowa. Saturday, he started a two-run first-inning rally and added an insurance run in the fifth with a homer to defeat Newtown, Pa.

Both games were played in prime time in front of a national television audience.

He has even sharpened his postgame interview skills, thanks to some help from his parents while traveling to Pennsylvania.

"I wasn't very good at it," he said. "I just said some one-word answers."

Bichette's father, who is a coach for Maitland, has some experience in the spotlight: Dante Bichette hit 274 home runs during a 14-year major-league career.

PENNSYLVANIA 15, IOWA 0: Greg Guers homered on the first pitch of the game, Blaise Lezynski added two two-run homers and Keith Terry Jr. didn't allow a hit as Council Rock-Newtown (1-2) pounded Davenport Northwest (0-3) in a game shortened by the 10-run mercy rule. Terry also homered and doubled in two runs, and Benn Parker added a two-run blast for Newtown, which batted around twice and hit six home runs.

MEXICO 7, RUSSIA 0: Julio Arciniega pitched a four-hitter, Nordan Gomez scored twice and Mexicali had 11 hits. Mexico (1-1), represented by Seguro Social, scored three in the second to take a 4-0 lead on Russia (0-2), the European champion.

JAPAN 7, VENEZUELA 4: Yuki Mizuma struck out six and homered to lead Chiba City (3-0) past Valencia (0-2) and clinch a spot in the next round. Mizuma entered in relief of Shuhei Iwata after Venezuela tied the score at 4 in the fourth. He shut out Venezuela the rest of the way.

CURACAO 3, SAUDI ARABIA 0: Sorick Liberia allowed one hit and struck out nine to lead Willemstad (2-1) past Dhahran (0-2). Liberia, one of four returnees from last year's championship team, took a no-hitter into the sixth before Alexander Robinett doubled with two outs.