Maine edges Kentucky to win first game

Updated: August 23, 2005, 9:09 PM ET
Associated Press

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Zach Collett had a feeling one sweet swing would be the hit to send his team back to New England as winners.

"It felt good right off the bat," he said. "Once it went out, it felt even better."

Collett hit a three-run home run in the third inning to lift Westbrook, Maine, to a 3-2 win over Owensboro (Ky.) Southern on Tuesday in the Little League World Series.

It was the first win of the series for Westbrook (1-2). Owensboro finished 0-3.

Westbrook blew a two-run lead in the sixth inning of its first series game and lost a one-run lead in the fifth in its last game. After a couple of near-misses, Westbrook gets to celebrate at home.

"Not everyone can say they won a game in the World Series," said Joey Royer, who earned a save with three scoreless innings of relief.

Count Owensboro among them.

Also Tuesday, Venezuela beat Saudi Arabia 4-0 and Surrey, British Columbia, was a 2-1 winner over Moscow. Guam faced Mexico, and Rancho Bueno Vista of Vista, Calif., played Lafayette, La., on Tuesday night.

Staked to a 2-0 lead, Owensboro's Luke Daugherty cruised through the first two innings until running into trouble in the third. Two runners reached, then Collett crushed one over the right-center fence for a 3-2 lead and sent the fans scurrying for the ball.

"His home run was just ... what can I say about it?" said smiling Westbrook coach Richard Knight.

Daugherty -- who gave up three hits and struck out seven in five innings -- got out of the inning with a dazzling behind-the-back snag on a one-hopper back to the mound.

Collett also doubled in the fifth.

Sean Murphy allowed three hits and two runs -- one earned -- in three innings to earn the win. Royer tossed three scoreless innings in relief for the save.

"I had nothing to worry about. We had the lead," Royer said.

Kentucky went up 2-0 in the third on an RBI double from Dalton West and an RBI groundout from Daugherty.

"There wasn't any pressure on us. I thought we were relaxed -- maybe too relaxed," said Kentucky coach Ricky Hale, his voice cracking. "That's the heartbreak of it all."

Westbrook shortstop Zack Gardiner ended the game with a nice leaping catch in the hole, then celebrated with his teammates on the mound.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press