EASLEY—California improved to 2-0 in the Big League World Series Thursday night, withstanding a seventh-inning rally by East champion New Jersey to take a 2-1 victory at the JB “Red” Owens Recreation Complex in Easley.
In the other Thursday night game, Italy built on an early lead and added five runs in the seventh inning to defeat Canada, 9-1. The runs scored by Italy tied Puerto Rico for the most scored by a team in one game
US Pool Play: California 2, New Jersey 1
California had 10 hits and got a strong pitching effort from Javier Ureno, who gave up one unearned run and five hits while walking none. The West champion also had 10 hits on offense.
The game was scoreless until the top of the fourth when Ureno led off with an infield single. Stratton Kim singled to left field advancing Joseph Gandara (pinch runner for Ureno) to second. Gandara was then picked off at second. Lucas Sardo singled to move Kim to second. Both Sardo and Kim moved up a base on a wild pitch. Jonah Lopez singled to center, scoring Kim and giving California a 1-0 lead. Clint Salisbury then executed a perfect suicide squeeze to score Sardo and give the West champion a 2-0 lead.
New Jersey had runners at second and third in the bottom of the fourth on a pair of singles and stolen bases. Ureno got the final two outs of the inning to end the threat.
California had the bases loaded with two outs in the fifth but did not score.
The game stayed 2-0 until the bottom of the seventh when Anthony Lopez led off for New Jersey with an infield single and advanced to second on an error. Kenny Dunn singled to left, sending Lopez to third. Austin Griffie then reached first courtesy of California’s second error, scoring Lopez (cutting the score to 2-1) and sending Dunn to second. Zach Large came in as a pinch runner for Griffie. Dunn and Large stole bases, giving New Jersey the tying run at third and the winning run at second. But, Ureno struck out Anthony Vasquez to seal the victory.
International Pool Play: Italy 9, Canada 1
Italy scored a run in the second, fourth, fifth and sixth innings and added five in the seventh to defeat Canada, 9-1.
Enrico Varin got the win, giving up one run, four hits while striking out eight and walking one in a complete-game performance.
Italy scored its first run in the second when Giacomo Nunin doubled to score Davide Bertoldi and take a 1-0 lead. The champions of the Europe/Middle East/Africa Region scored again in fourth with Nunin getting another double advancing Bertoldi to third. Bertoldi then scored on an error on the Canadian catcher to make the score 2-0. In the fifth, Marco Mari walked and stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Mari scored when Daniele Furlan reached first on a Canada error to make the score 3-0. In the sixth, Italy took a 4-0 lead when Alessandro Tonzar scored on a wild pitch.
Canada scored one run in the bottom of the sixth but Italy answered with five more runs in the seventh for the final margin.