SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - The "Baby Bombers" are moving on.
Rolando Torres threw a four-hitter Tuesday as the Rolando Paulino team from the Bronx, N.Y. secured a spot in the Little League World Series U.S. semifinals with a 5-0 victory over Bainbridge Island, Wash.
Torres struck out four and the defense behind him was flawless, making diving catches and ending the game with a double play.
"Rocky gave us what we were expecting. He threw strikes and kept the ball low, and when we do that our defense is going to get outs," Bronx manager Alberto Gonzalez said.
And while Danny Almonte made a spectacular diving catch in center field in the second inning, the best display of the Bronx's defensive ability came at the end.
With one out and a runner on first, Bainbridge Island's Nash Hensen hit a hard chopper toward second base. Bronx shortstop Kenny Espinal made the grab, stepped on second for the forceout and made the throw just in time to first base to turn the double play.
"I thought it was going to be a base hit, but Kenny got it," Torres said.
The win clinched first place in Pool B for the Bronx (3-0) and a spot in Thursday night's semifinal against Oceanside, Calif.
In Wednesday's U.S. semifinal, Apopka, Fla., will play Brownsburg, Ind.
The Bronx took a 1-0 lead in the first when Tommy Guzman scored on an RBI single by Carlos Garcia.
The Bronx blew the game open with three runs in the second inning. Guzman's RBI single drove in Francisco Pena, Reynaldo Guava scored on a sacrifice fly, and Guzman came home on Almonte's RBI single.
Although Bainbridge Island (1-2) got five players on base, none advanced to second.
"We just didn't play great defense today, and we have been a great defensive team," Bainbridge Island manager Don French said.
The Bronx made it 5-0 in the fifth on an RBI single by Pena.
The international semifinals will have Japan against Mexico on Wednesday and Guam against the Netherlands Antilles on Thursday.
Florida 10, Iowa 3
|Rolando Torres' four strikeouts and a flawless defense helped the Bronx beat Washington 5-0 at the Little League World Series Tuesday.|
Bill Blankenship hit two of the four home runs by Apopka and the Florida team overcame a 3-0 deficit for a 10-3 victory over Davenport (Iowa) East.
Andrew Cobb hit the first of three Apopka home runs in the fifth, a solo shot that made it 5-3. Brandon Brewer added a three-run homer and Blankenship added his second, a two-run shot.
Apopka (2-1) scored three runs in the third to tie the game.
Davenport East (0-3) scored all its runs in the second, including a solo homer by Dustin Nickels.
Mexico 2, Russia 0
Luis Zaragoza and Eduardo Flores combined to strike out 15 and allowed only two hits against Russia.
Mexico (2-1) scored both runs in the third inning when Fernando Garcia singled, moved to second on a bunt and scored on Flores' double. An error allowed Flores to score.
Nikolai Lobanov had two singles for the only hits for Russia (0-3), which was eliminated. Flores came in to pitch in the third and all 12 outs he recorded were strikeouts.
Guam 6, Canada 5, 9 innings
Derwin Aguon scored the winning run for Guam on a bases-loaded walk.
After Aguon walked to lead the ninth, Canada pitcher Jesse Sawyer got the next two outs, then walked the next three batters. Sawyer pitched the entire game for Canada, striking out 19.
Canada (1-2) took a 5-4 lead in the seventh when Kevin Kobe scored on a fielder's choice. Guam tied the score on Alejandro Diaz' home run.
Guam is 3-0 and in first place in Pool D
Diaz' double and Henry Salas' homer gave Guam a 2-0 lead. Kobe singled in Canada's first run in the third, and Christopher Wilkinson's two-run double gave Canada a 3-2 lead. Kobe's home run in the fifth made it 4-2.
Guam came within 4-3 in the bottom of the fifth on a homer by Aguon - his third homer in the series - then tied the score in the sixth on an error.
Japan 4, Netherlands Antilles 2
Tatsuya Suzuki hit a three-run homer to lead Tokyo, Japan to a 4-2 victory over Willemstad, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles.
Japan (2-1) loaded the bases in the first with two walks and a hit batter. Natsuki Sugisawa drove in a run with a groundout before Suzuki homered.
Netherlands Antilles (2-1) scored twice in the fifth on a bases-loaded walk and Erick Rafael's RBI single.
Winning pitcher Kazuki Ohkawara struck out eight. Nobuhisa Baba relieved Ohkawara in the fifth and gave up one run before striking out the side in the sixth.
Saudi Arabia 11, Panama 0
Nikko Echevarria tied a Little League World Series record with three home runs and Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, beat Santiago, Veraguas, Panama, 11-0.
Echevarria hit a two-run homer in the first for Saudi Arabia (1-2). He added a solo homer in the third and a two-run shot in the fourth.
Winning pitcher Drew Crofton (1-0) hit a solo homer in the third and Cord Heine had a two-run homer in the fifth.
Panama finished with a 1-2 record.