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Vancouver's Hastings all-stars win Canadian championships, advance to Little League World Series
EDMONTON - All-stars collided at John Fry Park on Saturday, with a trip to the Little League World Series as Team Canada’s representative up for grabs. It was the Hastings All-Stars from Vancouver who seized the moment.
The powerhouse B.C. representative at the Canadian Little League championship flexed its offensive muscle in a 10-run fourth inning that blew open a 1-1 game against the Lethbridge Southwest All-Stars. Hastings’ 11-1 win punched their ticket to Williamsport, Pa., for the Little League World Series, which begins Thursday.
Hastings had a pair of three-run homers in the fourth inning to crush Lethbridge’s spirits and put the game fully out of reach.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Hastings manager Vito Bordignon said. “For these kids (aged 11 and 12), it’s once in a lifetime. They’re pumped to go, the bunch of them.”
Hastings rolled through the tournament, outscoring their opponents 74-2 through seven games this past week.
“It was a tight game for three innings and then our bats finally woke up and exploded,” Bordignon said. “We took over the game and we were in control after that.”
With all of the offence his team had this past week in Edmonton, Bordignon said he figured he’d get some points up on the board eventually.
“The last few tournaments we were in, we’ve had nine-run innings about four times,” he said. “And we had one in this tournament as well and this was a 10-run inning. So we knew that the possibility was there.”
Thomas Neal’s solo homer at the start of the second inning put Hastings up 1-0, but Lethbridge answered back with their turn at bat in the second. With Wyatt Tomalty on third, Blake Braun’s single brought Tomalty home to tie up the game. Hastings got hot in the fourth, which put the pressure on Lethbridge.
As Hastings started getting players on base, Lethbridge errors helped them to pull away. With Hastings leading 5-1, outfielder Steven Moretto’s three-run homer made it an 8-1 game. Neal got back to bat again and did more damage, sending a three-run shot of his own over the fence for the 11-1 lead.
“(Going) one for three, it’s pretty good,” said Moretto, who had two cousins on the Hastings team that went to the World Series in 2009. “I’ll take it.”
As the errors and runs scored mounted in the fourth inning, the Lethbridge players looked increasingly devastated. Their manager, Ryan Ferbey, did his best to console them after the game.
“(Hastings) certainly hit some balls that aren’t retrievable and we dropped a few balls (that) probably cost us a few runs,” he said. “They kind of steamrollered the momentum.
“We told them how proud we are of them for the hard work they put in and their commitment to being good baseball players.”
Hastings will head from Edmonton to Toronto before they go to Williamsport to represent Canada. They’ll watch the Blue Jays host the New York Yankees on Sunday.
“The kids are all looking forward to it,” Bordignon said. “Once we told them about it, they got pumped. We told them after the game.”
The win gets them some exclusive access at Rogers Centre as well.
“I think they get to watch batting practice with the Blue Jays and they’ll get to go on the field with the Blue Jays,” Bordignon said. “It’s pretty cool for them.”
© Global News. A division of Shaw Media Inc., 2012.
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