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Valera does it all as Venezuela advances

8/22/2006

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Roberto Valera took care
of things at the plate and on the mound.

Valera knocked in three runs and pitched a complete game as
Lara, Venezuela advanced to the international semifinals at the
Little League World Series with a 3-2 triumph over Surrey,
British Columbia.

Earlier Monday, Valera delivered an RBI single in the bottom of
the eighth inning to lift Lara to a 1-0 victory over Saipan in a
game that was suspended from Sunday by rain.

Valera came up big again for the Latin American champions later
Monday.

In the first inning, Valera hit a two-run homer off Kristopher
Robazza to give Lara (2-0) a quick lead. He plated a run in the
third inning for a 3-0 advantage.

"I was happy to get that home run," Valera said through
interpreter Luis Sanchez. "It was even better because I was
pitching. I was very happy because I helped my team."
On the mound, Valera gave up two runs and seven hits in six
innings with three walks and nine strikeouts.

Trailing 3-1, Surrey put runners on second and third and none
out in the bottom of the sixth. But Valera worked his way out
trouble, getting some help along the way.

Valera got Greg Finley to pop out. Talon Van Horn then grounded
back Valera, who threw him out at first. Robazza got caught
between second and third and was tagged out to end the game as
the second run crossed.

"We were nervous when they had two runners on, but we were ready
to get the outs, Venezuelan manager Domingo Carrasquel said
through the team interpreter. "[The team was] playing with
heart, so I was confident they would get the outs."

Surrey (0-2) was eliminated.