Sweet victory: Johnny Quenga, center, of the Asia-Pacific team from Yona, Guam is tackled by teammates Nicholas Cruz, left, and Mark Blas. They were celebrating Quenga's hit that drove in two runs in the sixth inning to win their game 7-6 against the Europe team from Emilia, Italy, during pool play of the Little League World Series Saturday in South Williamsport, Pa. (The Associated Press)
There is something about baseball where dreams and magic can happen. This is what happened to the Little League Team from Guam who came from behind and beat Europe at the Opener of the 2008 Little League Series at South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
What a game and what a comeback! You can read the full account from the Pacific Daily News that I coped below. I remember when my father used to manage a Little League team when I was younger. My two younger brothers played in the team. We loved the games and baseball was in our blood back them. Each win was sweet. I still remember the smell of the gloves and those days helping my dad getting everybody to practice and to the games.
We never imagined a World Series. What an accomplishment for these boys from this island in the Pacific. They are already champions for the Asia – Pacific Region. Go Team Guam!
Guam rallies, wins opener
BY MIKE NAUTA JR. • FOR PACIFIC DAILY NEWS • AUGUST 18, 2008
The Guam Little League all-stars came back from a four-run deficit to defeat Europe 7-6 in their 2008 Little League World Series opener yesterday in South Williamsport, Pa.
“I told the kids to just believe in themselves and you can come back,” Guam manager Bill Meeks said yesterday via telephone from South Williamsport. “I kept telling them, ‘Don’t give up,’ and we fought hard,” he added.
Heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, Guam — representing the Asia-Pacific region — trailed its opponents from Italy 6-2, but that didn’t deter the players as they stuck to the game plan.
Austin Paulino and Parish Reyes walked to put two runners on base, and Johnny Quenga doubled to drive them home, cutting the deficit to two. Quenga scored later in the inning to make it a one-run game.
In the sixth inning, the tables turned in Guam’s favor. Guam brought in relief pitcher Nick Cruz, and he struck out the side on 13 pitches.
When Guam took its turn at bat, Austin Sablan struck out, and then a pitch hit Brian Bunag. Later in the inning with two outs, Reyes hit a long fly ball to center field that looked like it might be the game-winning home run, however, it hit the wall, putting runners on second and third base. On the ensuing play, Quenga found a gap in the defense, driving in Bunag to tie and Reyes for the winning run.
At the start of the game, things didn’t look good for Guam as it fell behind in the first inning. Europe rocked starting pitcher Austin Sablan for four runs early. After making a pitching change with no outs in the first, Guam’s Mark Blas struck out two straight batters followed by a force out to end the inning. Europe retired the Guam in the bottom half, facing only four batters.
Guam finally put its first two runs on the board in the bottom of the second inning when Andrew Quintanilla drove in Nicholas Hernandez with a double. Quintanilla scored later in the inning on a fielder’s choice. Guam allowed Europe to score one run in the third and fifth innings.
Quenga led Guam, going 2-for-4 with a double, single and four RBIs. Quintanilla went 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Blas and Cruz combined for six strikeouts in the game.