It took some time for the nerves to calm and the stomachs to stop churning.
But once that happened, the Youngstown All-Stars showed what made this team the Host Area champion and a force to deal with in the Pony League World Series.
Youngstown belted 11 hits, made some great defensive plays and got excellent pitching in a 10-0, six-inning rout over European representative Vienna, Austria, Saturday at Lew Hays Pony Field in Washington Park.
Youngstown advances to the next winners’ bracket round at 5:30 p.m., Monday against either Bay County, Mich., the North Zone champion, or Chinese Taipei, the Asia-Pacfic Zone champion.
Vienna, which finished third in the zone but got to play in the world series when the top two teams were unable to travel here, plays Yaguate, Dominican Republic, at 5 p.m., today.
“The last three innings is what this team is all about,” said Youngstown manager Craig Malagise. “We played great defense. This team can hit and runs the bases very well. We’ve got a lot of offense and we just started to show it.”
Youngstown was hanging on to a 1-0 lead after four innings, then scored nine runs over the next two innings to invoke the 10-run Mercy Rule.
Starting pitcher Colten Shaffer tossed three shutout innings before moving to the field for the remainder of the game. He went 3-for-4 with three runs and two RBI. Youngstown allowed only two hits.
“We were nervous at the beginning but we got a feel for it as the game went on,” said Shaffer, a Neshannock resident who had two doubles among his hits. “I think we can win it all here. The hitting, pitching and defense on this team is all outstanding.”
Andrew Kirkpatrick went 2-for-3, scored twice and had one of Youngstown’s three triples. Tyler Rekich and Kyle Yost had the other two.
Shaffer allowed one hit and struck out four in his three innings. Joe Roth came on in the fourth and threw 2 2/3 innings with three strikeouts.
Braden Gebhart relieved Roth in the sixth with two outs and the bases loaded for Vienna. Gebhart got Jakob Shaffer to ground out to second baseman Tyler Staub, who made three other good defensive plays to save basehits.
“This is the first time for the kids in this type of setting,” said Vienna manager Manfred Heisler. “They were pretty nervous but didn’t show it early on. Until the end of the game, it was a close game. Unfortunately, things fell apart a little. But overall, I’m very happy with what I saw.”