Ocean View wins Little League opener, 11-0
Ocean View Little League manager Jeff Pratto said his team doesn’t worry much about hitting home runs, and sure enough the Little League World Series West champions from Huntington Beach didn’t homer Friday in its first game of the 2011 tournament Little League World Series.
Instead, Ocean View combined 11 hits, flawless pitching and some nerveless defensive plays to defeat the New England representatives from Cumberland, Rhode Island, 11-0.
Braydon Salzman was the batting star of the game. He was three-for-three. He was also the hard-headed star of the game. When Salzman was pitching, he took a line drive off the bill of his cap that left a bite-size indentation.
“It hurt a little,” Salzman said. Pratto said he was momentarily unworried -- until Salzman dropped to the ground. “I thought he caught it,” Pratto said.
Ocean View, after scoring single runs in the first, second and fourth innings, put the game away with a six-run top of the fifth that was a mish-mash of wild pitches and walks from Rhode Island and smart hitting by the West players.
The inning was started when Steven Kotkosky walked and Jason Mayorga followed with a double. Kotkosky scored on an error on the play and, one out later, Salzman’s single scored Mayorga. From there, the Rhode Island players seemed to slump their shoulders.
Salzman, who was also the winning pitcher, said he wasn’t nervous at all, though teammates Hagen Danner and Trevor Windisch both admitted to some butterflies early.
With the win, Ocean View gets Saturday off and will next play Sunday at 3 p.m. PDT against the winner of Friday night’s game between the Great Lakes champion from La Grange, Ky., and the most local team, the Mid-Atlantic champions from Clinton County, Pa., which is about 40 miles away from Williamsport.
-- Diane Pucin, reporting from Williamsport, Pa.
Photo: Huntington Beach's Hagen Danner connects with a pitch in the first inning against Cumberland, R.I., for a triple in a baseball game during pool play at the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa., on Friday. Credit: Tom E. Puskar / Associated Press