Grichuk homers twice for Texas team

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Randal Grichuk tried to play down the fact that he's the only returning U.S. player in this year's Little League World Series. But, maybe experience does count for something.

Grichuk hit two home runs and an RBI double, and Lamar National
of Richmond, Texas, never trailed in an 18-7 victory Saturday over
Redmond (Wash.) North.

It was the first pitch Grichuk saw in this series -- and the
first since he struck out in his final at-bat in a 14-13, seven-inning loss to Saugus, Mass., in last year's U.S. semifinals.

"It feels a lot better to be back, very definitely. I love the
games where you get to bat four or five times," Grichuk said. "A
lot of people saw last year's [game], and now I think some of them
expect us to win. So I guess we've got to."

Daniel Homann sent the next pitch over the wall in left-center
field, giving Texas (1-0) a 3-0 lead at the end of the first.
Washington (0-1) never got closer.

Matt Daniels (1-0), who hit a grand slam, earned the win. Ryan
Beliel (0-1) took the loss.

"The kid's what you'd call a lollipop thrower," Daniels said
of his grand slam pitch. "Basically, his fastball had a little
rainbow arc to it. A lot of the other kids were way out in front of
it, but all I did was, I thought, 'Tennis ball in the cul-de-sac,'
and hit it square. And if you hit it square, the ball goes."

In other games Saturday, South Caroline Little League from
Preston, Md., beat Owensboro (Ky.) Southern 7-2; Willemstad,
Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, beat Guadalupe, Mexico 3-2; Dhahran,
Saudi Arabia beat Saipan 4-1 in seven innings; Shou-Tien,
Taiwan routed Kutno, Poland 18-0 in 4 innings; and Lincoln, R.I.,
held on for a 3-2 victory over Davenport, Iowa.

Grichuk's second home run capped a five-run second inning for
Texas, which started with Cody Abraham's RBI single. Dustin Moehlig
scored on a wild pitch. Joey Scheurich's sacrifice fly drove in one
run, and a second run scored on an infield error. That set up
Grichuck's second homer, which sailed over the wall in center field
for an 8-0 Texas lead.

Washington pulled within 8-2 in the bottom of the second,
scoring both runs on fielding errors.

But Texas extended its lead to 10-2 in the third with Cody
Abraham's RBI single and Grichuk's RBI double.

With runners on second and third, Washington intentionally
walked Grichuk in the fifth inning, loading the bases for Daniels'
grand slam to left field. Moehlig's RBI single made it 15-2.

"At the beginning of the game, I just told them to be very
patient," Texas manager Jim Michalek said. "That's when we're the
best hitters."

Washington made a late run in the bottom of the fifth, with RBI
doubles from Beliel and Kyle Henselman. Stephen Thompson's two-run
single made it 15-6, cutting the lead to less than 10 and sparing
Washington a mercy-rule loss.

The last three Texas runs came on a wild pitch and an infield
error in the sixth.

Michael Conforto scored the game's last run with a solo homer in
the bottom of the sixth.

"The hard games are the 3-2 that you lose in the sixth inning.
Getting blown out, then hanging in there, that's not so bad," said
Washington manager Darryl Beliel. "We're still in this."

Maryland 7, Kentucky 2
Brady Hare hit a two-run homer, and Hunter Bennett added a
two-run double for Maryland, and pitcher Davonta DeShields gave up
just two hits.

Curacao 3, Mexico 2
Carlos Pineda hit a three-run homer in the first, then allowed
just two hits as Curacao held on for the win. Both of Mexico's runs
came in the fourth.

Saudi Arabia 4, Saipan 1, 7 innings
Mark Lumpa hit a two-run double in the top of the seventh to
lift Saudi Arabia past Saipan. Matt Timoney and Joel Reimer singled
to set up Lumpa's hit, breaking the 1-1 tie.

Taiwan 18, Poland 0, 4 innings
Hsu Chi-Hung and Tung Chen-Lun combined to pitch a no-hitter,
Taiwan's 14 first-inning runs were the most in an inning since pool
play began in 1992.

Rhode Island 3, Iowa 2
Chris Costantino struck out 15, including the last out with
the bases loaded. Rhode Island led 2-0 after the first
inning, but Justin Black's home run brought Iowa within 2-1. Iowa,
the only team to play two games, fell to 0-2.