Westport falls to Mexico in LLWS third-place game
Published 4:04 pm, Sunday, August 25, 2013
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- There was no more shot at a championship. That hope had been crushed a day earlier by a buzzsaw out of the West region.
On Sunday, all that was left for Westport at the Little League World Series was a consolation prize.
Despite launching four home runs, including back-to-back jacks in a five-run fifth, Westport fell to Tijuana, Mexico 15-14 in the third-place game before 9,321 at Lamade Stadium.
Westport, which advanced further than any team from Connecticut in 24 years, finished 3-3 at the LLWS and 21-3 overall. Two of its losses came against Chula Vista, Calif., including a 12-1 defeat in the U.S. final on Saturday.
The last team from the Constitution State to play in the U.S. final was Trumbull, the eventual world champion, in 1989.
"They proved that they belonged here," Westport manager Tim Rogers said. "They were one of the last teams standing. Their baseball skills are right at the top of the world."
Third baseman Chad Knight led Westport's 16-hit attack, going 3-for-5 with two home runs and seven RBIs. His second long ball -- a three-run blast to dead center off Martin Gonzalez -- brought Westport to within a run in the sixth.
Westport trailed 11-6 in the fifth, but quickly rallied to tie it. Harry Azadian launched a three-run blast to the opposite field in right to make it 11-10, and catcher Matt Stone evened the score with a long ball one batter later.
"It just says wonders about the kids, just how competitive they really are and how much they like to play," Rogers said. "They don't give up. They didn't pack it in, and obviously it's pretty clear our pitching was spent."
Brandon Montes, Ramon Mendoza and Saul Favela also homered for Mexico, which finished 4-2 at the LLWS and 11-3 overall. Mexico lost in the international championship game to Tokyo, 3-2, on Saturday.
"We're definitely very happy," Mexico third baseman Luis Manzo said. "We understand that third place is not first place, but we're very proud."
Westport put the tying run on with two outs in the sixth following Knight's homer, but Stone grounded back to the mound to end it. It concluded a bittersweet day -- the 15th and final day in South Williamsport, Pa. -- in a dream summer for Westport.
"Sure we would've liked to have won today," Rogers said, "but the way they've battled, the way they've played, the way they've hit the ball, we're leaving feeling good."
Matthew Brown, who launched a mammoth solo homer in the third to put Westport ahead 6-4, started on the mound. The right-hander was charged for eight runs (five earned) in 2 2/3 innings in Westport's second straight five-error day.
Knight had four RBIs in the first two innings -- a two-run homer and two-run single -- to put Westport ahead 5-1.
After the game, the team planned to hop on a bus for a four-hour drive back home. On Monday at 5 p.m., the team will be honored by the town with a parade down Main Street and a celebration in Jesup Green. The day after, a new school year begins for the 11 players.
"It's been so long, I forget where Westport is," Rogers joked. "It's going to be great, the kids really deserve it. I think there will be a great turnout."
Dbonjour@scni.com; 203-255-4561 ext 114; twitter.com/DougBonjour
Tijuana, Mexico 15, Westport 14
WESTPORT 231 053 -- 14 16 5
MEXICO 134 34x -- 15 16 1
Batteries: W -- Matthew Brown, Charlie Roof (3), Alex Reiner (L, 5) and Matt Stone. M -- Miguel Artalejo, Jorge Rodriguez (2), Saul Favela (3), Martin Gonzalez (W, 4) and Ramon Mendoza.
Home runs: W -- Chad Knight 2, Brown, Harry Azadian, Matt Stone. M -- Brandon Montes, Mendoza, Favela, Artalejo.