California beats Louisiana, stays undefeated

Updated: August 23, 2005, 11:45 PM ET
Associated Press

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Kalen Pimentel sure is having a grand time in the Little League World Series.

Pimentel hit his second grand slam in two games to lead undefeated Rancho Buena Vista of Vista, Calif., to a 9-3 win over Lafayette, La., on Tuesday night.

Pimentel's fourth-inning slam broke the game open for Rancho Buena Vista (3-0) and followed one he hit Sunday that snapped a tie. Pimentel also tied a Little League World Series record for a six-inning game with 18 strikeouts on Saturday.

On the mound or at the plate, Pimentel is making Rancho Buena Vista a championship favorite. Pimentel joked the ball was looking pretty big to him in this series.

"It's not as big as a pumpkin, but that's pretty close," he said.

"We've prepared all we can do," Rancho Buena Vista manager Marty Miller said. "We've won 23 straight games now. We don't want to teach the kids how to lose."

Austin White earned the win for California, allowing one run and five hits over three innings.

Reed Reznicek added a two-run homer for Rancho Buena Vista and Royce Copeland pitched out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam when the game was still tight.

Trailing 5-1 entering the fourth, Lafayette (2-1) tacked on another run thanks to a throwing error and loaded the bases looking ready to get back into the game.

But Copeland struck out Brenn Conrad on a wild pitch and Alex Miller was thrown out at the plate for a double play. Then Copeland got Jace Conrad to strike out to end the rally as chants of "RBV! RBV!" erupted from the crowd.

Copeland struck out four in three innings of relief.

Pimentel made Lafayette regret the missed opportunity a little more with his grand slam off reliever Ryan Bergeron in the bottom half of the inning, giving him nine RBI in three games.

"I just tried putting a good swing on it," Pimentel said.

Rancho Buena Vista already had a United States semifinal bid secured and seemed on its way to an early blowout, taking a 3-0 lead off losing starter Connor Toups in the first inning.

Lafayette's Jace Conrad crushed a solo homer about 300 feet -- or nearly 100 yards past the 205-foot center-field fence sign -- in the third to make it 3-1.

Reznicek then added a two-run shot in the third for a 5-1 Rancho Buena Vista lead.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press