SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Call him Texas' two-way threat.
Zane Ancell hit a long home run and struck out 11 to lead
undefeated Lubbock, Texas, to a 5-1 win over Chandler, Ariz., at
the Little League World Series on Sunday.
The 12-year-old's blast easily cleared the 225-foot wall in
center field, passing a TV tower and falling into a grass field
where kids scurried for the souvenir.
But his performance on the mound for Lubbock (2-0) might have
been even more impressive. Ancell didn't know he was going to start
until 10 minutes before the game.
His curveballs kept Chandler (1-1) off-balance all game one day
after the Arizonans had pounded out 17 hits.
Ancell looked imposing doing it. The bill of his cap pulled down
tight over his forehead, at times he resembled a miniature version
of another tough left-handed pitcher from Texas, the New York
Yankees' Andy Pettitte.
"I felt really good today,'' Ancell said. "I knew I was
probably going to pitch somewhere along the line, but I didn't know
I was going to start today.''
Manager Ed Thorne made the right call.
"We went with Zane and I'm sure glad we did,'' Thorne said.
"He pitched a beauty.''
Thorne has the luxury of at least two aces on his staff. Garrett
Williams pitched a gem Saturday, striking out 17 in a 6-0 win over
Coon Rapids, Minn.
The scary part for opponents might be that Thorne has more
pitching at his disposal. At times over the last three seasons,
he's gone through games in which he's inserted a different pitcher
Thorne said that's his plan for Texas' next game, Tuesday
against Salisbury, Md.
"It's just that the hitting has to fall into place,'' he said.
Ancell's two-way success overshadowed teammate Bryndan
Arredondo's two home runs to deep center, both of which easily
cleared the 225-foot wall.
Arredondo credits tough batting cage sessions with his father
for his sweet swing.
"Hitting practice is a little tougher,'' the 12-year-old said.
"When I don't hit it, he's on my butt, 24-7.''