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Curacao wins Little League World Series

Posted: Monday, August 30, 2004

S.WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. Carlos Pineda looked shaky when he started with three consecutive balls and then hit California's leadoff batter. But he got a lot better in a hurry.

Pineda struck out 11 and Jurickson Profar hit a two-run homer as Pabao Little League of Willemstad, Curacao, took an early lead and held on for a 5-2 victory over Conejo Valley of Thousand Oaks, Calif., in the Little League World Series championship on Sunday night.

Curacao coach Michelangelo Celestina said the early advantage was ''very important, because it was the first time we were in a final game of the Little League World Series.''

Teams from Curacao reached the international final game the previous three years, but lost each time to a team from Japan.

California scored both of its runs in the top of the sixth, and had runners on first and third with two outs. James Brady grounded to first baseman Christopher Garia, who won a race to the bag for the final out.

It was the first Little League title for the tiny island in the Netherlands Antilles, and the first for any team from the Caribbean.

Jonathan Schoop, who earned the save, said he expected crowds at the airport and a lot of attention at school.

In the consolation game, Lamar National Little League of Richmond, Texas, beat Linda Vista Little Leaguae of Guadalupe, Mexico, 5-0. Randal Grichuk's second hit of the game for Texas tied the record for hits in a series with 12.

Curacao (6-0) never trailed, going up 1-0 in the bottom of the first on Schoop's RBI single.

Facing a 1-1 count, Profar homered to left field his first home run of the series to make it 3-0.

''I did all the things good I wanted to do hitting, defense,'' Profar said through an interpreter.

After that, Pineda (2-0) kept his team out of trouble.

''He was throwing very hard,'' Celestina said. ''I think the speed that he has is unbeatable.''

But it wasn't so much the speed as the deft mix of Pineda's fastball, breaking ball and the occasional curveball to keep California (5-1) off balance.

Pineda struck out seven straight from the first inning through the third but that was only after his rough start.



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