Before games were played Tuesday at the Pony League World Series, the teams from Youngstown, Ohio, and Tijuana, Mexico were in a good position.
Both playing in their respective winners’ bracket – the games were postponed from Monday night and shortened to five innings – Youngstown and Tijuana were well rested.
Ten innings later, they were going home.
In the first elimination game of the day, Erick Hernandez went 2-for-2 with six RBI to lead Yuguate, Dominican Republic, to an 11-6 victory over Youngstown.
Hernandez paced a 13-hit attack for the Dominican Republic, which through three elimination games had scored 51 runs and smacked 52 hits.
Dominican Republic, the Caribbean Zone champion, took a 5-0 lead in the first inning after a pair of runs were followed by a three-run homer from Hernandez to right field. He then hit a two-run double in the second inning before being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to extend the lead to 11-0 in the third inning.
Nathan Klodowski of Burgettstown hit a grand slam in the final inning for Youngstown.
Long Beach, Calif., 8, Tijuana, Mexico 2: Ryan Geck hit a towering two-run homer to left field to spark a seven-run third inning as Long Beach defeated Tijuana, 8-2, in a winners’ bracket game.
The moon-shot home run by Geck broke a tie and gave Long Beach a 3-1 advantage, which it immediately added to with a pair of RBI singles from Ryan Skjonsby and Robert Voss. Sam DeCarlo, who started the scoring with a line-drive single, added an eight-pitch walk with the bases loaded. An error then brought home Voss to end the scoring in the inning.
“What normally happens with our team is the bottom of the order gets us started,” said Long Beach manager Ken Jakemer. “We just like moving the lineup along. (Hitting) is contagious.”
Long Beach pitcher Jake Ehmann pitched all five innings, giving up only three hits and two runs. He struck out 10.
“It’s the best game we’ve gotten out of him all year,” Jakemer said, also crediting pitching coach Dan Leavitt. “That game was a must-win for us. It put us in a great spot.”
The loss sent Tijuana, the Mexico champion, to an elimination game against Brownsville, Texas.
Brownsville, Texas 4, Tijuana, Mexico 0: Damian Cortez broke the game open with a double in the third inning that scored three runs as Brownsville defeated Tijuana, 4-0, in an elimination game.
Cortez watched teammate Christopher Sauceda, the hitter one spot ahead of him in the lineup, get walked to load the bases. Cortez then ripped a line drive into the right-centerfield gap, which scored Juan Rivera and Jose Gutierrez before Sauceda came home on a throwing error on the play.
Brownsville took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Gutierrez hit an infield single to score leadoff hitter Rudy Gonzalez, who singled and stole second and third.
Cortez and Suaceda also combined to shut out Tijuana. The two only surrendered one hit and struck out five.