Rosalia blasts HR, sends Curacao to LLWS international final
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Down to his last strike with his team on the brink of elimination, Deion Rosalia stayed calm and settled himself at the plate.
The next pitch, a fastball, looked inviting, and the 13-year-old swung.
When the ball sailed over the right-field fence, Rosalia had a three-run homer and Willemstad, Curacao, had a stunning 4-2 extra-inning win Thursday over Maracaibo, Venezuela, at the Little League World Series.
Curacao advances to Saturday's international championship game. Venezuela is eliminated.
Also Thursday, Lubbock, Texas, beat Lake Oswego, Ore., 8-2 to advance to the U.S. championship game.
Rosalia wasn't looking to go deep on the 1-2 pitch.
"No, I just went for contact," he said, flashing a brief smile.
Tied 1-1 after the regulation six innings, Venezuela's Bryan Charry led off the top of the seventh with a homer to give Venezuela a 2-1 lead. Teammates lined the third-base line as Charry rounded third, greeting him with low-fives before he pounced on home plate.
Rosalia wasn't happy about that celebration.
"It made me want to beat them up," he said.
Manager Vernon Isabella took a different approach.
"I had a feeling in the bottom of the seventh inning that something would happen to win the game," he said through translator Percy Lebacks.
It sure did, though there were tense moments.
Ademar Rifaela singled sharply to center on a 3-2 count with two outs off reliever Reinaldo Amaro. Vincent Anthonia walked on four pitches, setting up Rosalia's at-bat.
Anthonia skipped in delight, frantically jumping as he rounded third. Rosalia soon followed and was greeted by jubilant teammates at the plate. He said it was his first game-winning homer.
Pitching on his 12th birthday, Entwin Reigina got the win despite allowing Charry's homer after striking out five in two-plus innings of relief.
"That is an extra gift for my birthday," he said.
Venezuela was eliminated.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press