‘Incredible experience’ for young team

White Rock All-Stars eliminated from Little League World Series after two losses.

The White Rock All-Stars suited up for Team Canada at the Little League World Series in Williamsport

Despite back-to-back losses dashing their hopes for the Little League World Series title, the White Rock All-Stars have “fulfilled a childhood dream” in Williamsport, Pa. this month.

The team made up of Peninsula 11- and 12-year-olds has been stateside for more than a week, after they won the Canadian Little League Championships on Aug. 16 in Nepean, Ont.

And although the squad has not fared as well as they had hoped on the U.S. diamond – losing a hard-fought opening game Friday to Mexico 1-0, followed by a more decisive 16-4 loss to Chinese Taipei the next day – coach Bob Cumiskey told Peace Arch News the boys have soaked up every minute of the “incredible experience.”

“We knew coming here that on the international side, we’re in the stiffest competition in the world,” Cumiskey said Monday morning. “So we told our guys, ‘you’re already Canadian champions before you step on the field, but yes, you’re here to try and win some games.’”

A standout performance by pitcher Matthew Wilkinson in White Rock’s opening game Friday was not enough for the Canadian champs to secure a victory. Wilkinson threw five scoreless innings – racking up 16 strikeouts – before being relieved by Alen Sugimoto, who pitched the sixth.

Wilkinson was responsible, via strikeout, for all 15 outs his team recorded over five innings, and earned an extra one when one Mexican batter struck out, but the ball was dropped by the catcher and the batter made it to first base before he could be thrown out, thus extending the inning.

Mexico’s starting pitcher, Daniel Zaragoza, was nearly equal to Wilkinson on the mound, striking out 10 White Rock batters while pitching the full six frames.

Zaragoza was also responsible for his team’s only run of the game, which came in the bottom of the sixth inning when his single scored Raul Leon to end the game.

White Rock managed just three hits off Zaragoza – Kieran Ritchie had two, and Kole Turner had another.

“We had a very good game against Mexico, and it was a bit of a heartbreaker, losing 1-0,” Cumiskey said. “We just didn’t hit the ball as well as we would have liked.”

White Rock returned to the field Saturday when they faced off against Chinese Taipei, representing the Asia Pacific region.

Strong offence from Chinese Taipei in the first inning – when they racked up nine runs to Canada’s two – set the stage for a tough defeat for the White Rock squad after four innings.

“We got off to a rough start in the first, and there was no looking back after that,” Cumiskey said.

Though the players took the losses hard at first, Cumiskey said, it didn’t take the boys long to perk up.

“The good thing with 11- and 12-year-olds, they were in the arcade playing ping pong and in the pool swimming within an hour,” he said.

The players – who went undefeated throughout their regular season and lost only once in the Canadian championship – have been making the most of the experience. The squad has visited tourist spots around Williamsport and reaped the many benefits of being part of such a prestigious tournament, including a bounty of free bats, helmets and gloves courtesy of Easton.

“They’ve been treated like kings here,” Cumiskey said. “It’s incredible. It’s better than Christmas, they’ve all said – except for one kid. He said it’s a tie.”

Although they were out of the competition bracket, White Rock played a consolation game Tuesday before making the trip home.

Despite the players being “pretty amped up” to get a win before leaving the tournament, White Rock lost Tuesday’s game 18-6 against the Midwest squad, represented by American Webb City, Mo.

– with files from Nick Greenizan

Just Posted

White Rock mayor attacks ‘fearmongering’ candidates

Wayne Baldwin condemns anti-highrise petition, saying Democracy Direct candidates ‘not fit for office’

Surrey First vows to expand city efforts to make kids with autism ‘feel at home’

Initiative would include staff and coach training, as well as a sensory room in Clayton Community Centre

Surrey goalie gets a shot with NHL Boston Bruins on China trip

On tryout contract, Derek Dun practiced with team ahead of pre-season game

‘Memory Socials’ to record oral histories of Surrey locals

Historical organization wants to hear your memories of life in Surrey

SFU unveils new lab at Surrey Memorial Hospital

Combination of MRI, MEG allows for ‘best possible windows’ intro brain function

U.S. congressman issues dire warning to Canada’s NAFTA team: time is running out

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is expected to resume talks with the U.S.

Researchers tag great white shark in Atlantic Canada

Information will be used to learn more about where white sharks move in Canadian waters

Mix-up of bodies leads to funeral home reforms in Nova Scotia

One woman was was mistakenly cremated, another was embalmed and presented to family members during a visitation that went horribly wrong

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Cyclists finish North America trip to highlight Ukraine struggle

The 10,000 bike ride raised over $10,000 for victims of the war in Ukraine.

21 new paramedics promised for B.C. Interior

A total of 18 new full-time paramedics will be hired for Kamloops and three are being hired for Chase.

Drop-in to a Cloverdale Library Philosophers Café

First cafe of the fall is Tuesday, Sept. 18

Federal stats show slight increase in irregular migrant claims in August

113 extra people tried to cross the Canadian border last month

Most Read

l -->