FARMINGTON — Even though Youth Service League is still adjusting to playing in Farmington, the squad from Brooklyn, New York, got by with a 9-1 win over La Escuela de los Deportes de Carolina in Game 9 of the Connie Mack World Series on Sunday at Ricketts Park.
The loss was the second for E.D.C. (21-7) in the series, and it eliminated the Puerto Rican team from the tournament.
Junior Ramirez, the pitcher for Youth Service League (35-16-1), picked up the win but struggled with the thin air at more than 5,300 feet above sea level.
"In the beginning, I definitely felt like there was something different — it was something I had never felt before," Ramirez said of the altitude in Farmington. "I knew some things weren't going to work, but I had to try my best. Right now, I don't care how I do, I just want to win and help my team as far as I can in this tournament."
Despite the adjustments, Ramirez shut down E.D.C., holding its offense to four hits.
YSL got things going in the bottom of the second. Douglas Lopez came through with a single up the middle to drive in the team's first run. In the next at-bat, Erison Valero singled to drive in Kevin Rodriguez and Lopez and push the lead to 3-0.
Then the nerves that plagued E.D.C. in their opener Saturday night returned.
With runners on the corners, Alfonse Sadallah stole second. The throw from E.D.C. catcher Cesar Nunez hit off the glove at second and shot into left field, allowing Joseph Sadallah to score from third. A couple of pitches later, Alfonse Sadallah scored after a wild pitch got by Nunez, making it 5-0 after two innings.
Throughout the game, E.D.C. struggled to find the strike zone, using six pitchers who combined for 10 walks.
E.D.C. got on the board in the top of the fourth. Alexander Martinez hit a double to the wall, putting runners on second and third with one away. And then Henry Clemente came through with an RBI to cut the deficit to 5-1.
YSL got its offense back on track in the bottom of the fifth with help from E.D.C.
E.D.C. walked three of the first four batters in the inning, setting up an RBI single from Valero.
Then more errors struck E.D.C.
Joseph Sadallah grounded into a fielder's choice, but when the E.D.C. second baseman threw to second, the throw was wide and rolled into left field, allowing two more runs and stretching the lead to 8-1.
YSL had a couple of chances to end it in the fifth, loading the bases with one out, but the team couldn't push across another run.
The majority of the YSL offense came from the bottom of the lineup, where the seven-, eight- and nine-hole hitters combined for four RBIs.
"The bottom (of the lineup) will come through one game, the top will another game, but today the bottom of the lineup did a really good job," YSL coach Quintin Cedeno said. "In the first game, the top of the lineup did most the work, the bottom did it this game. Hopefully, we can put it together in game three."
YSL will play the loser of today's game between the Southern California Renegades (40-5-2) and Prairie Gravel (24-5-2) at noon Tuesday at Ricketts Park.
The world series ends for E.D.C., but the team's coach Edwin Cuadrado said the trip to Farmington was a great experience for his young squad.
"We want to say thanks to Connie Mack and the organizers for the great experience for young players and coaches," Cuadrado said. "We feel so blessed to play here this year."
Youth Service League
Leading batter: Erison Valero, 2 1B, BB, 3 RBIs
WP: Junior Ramirez
Escuela de los Deportes de Carolina
Leading batter: Henry Clemente, 1B, RBI
LP: Benny Jesus