Little League

Aug. 21: Oregon advances; Japan, Venezuela win easily

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - Even with a case of the sniffles, Levi Rudolph didn't mind pitching through on-and-off rain, a stiff breeze and cool temperatures that made it seem more like early March than mid-August.

Rudolph pitched four-plus effective innings and drove home a run on a bunt single as Lake Oswego, Ore., defeated Hamilton, Ohio, 6-1 Tuesday to advance to the Little League World Series semifinals.

"The last couple days, I had a little cold, but I've played in these conditions all year," said the 13-year-old Rudolph, who hails from the rainy Pacific Northwest. "I really don't think about these pressure situations."

In other games Tuesday, Tokyo, Japan defeated White Rock, British Columbia, 7-1; and Maracaibo, Venezuela, routed Apeldoorn, Netherlands, 21-2.

The tournament resumed Tuesday after the full slate of five games Monday was postponed because of a steady rain.

Tuesday wasn't much better. The sun never came out over South Williamsport, with a drizzle falling much of the day. Temperatures were in the 60s, though the breeze made it feel even cooler.

Heavier downpours later Tuesday force the game between Walpole, Mass., and Warner Robins, Ga. to be suspended in the second inning. That game will be resumed Wednesday at 11 a.m.

The late game between Taiwan and Mexico never even started, and was also postponed to Wednesday at noon.

But this was perfect weather for Lake Oswego, said Clyde Weiss, father of Oregon center fielder Michael Weiss.

"This is how we play from April 1 to May 15," he said, hands in his pockets as he watched from the stands.

Austin Andrews led off the bottom of the first with an opposite-field homer to right, part of a two-run inning for Lake Oswego (2-1), which never trailed.

"I just saw a pitch I liked and I drove it out of the park," the 12-year-old Andrews said. "It was awesome."

Hamilton (1-2) closed to 2-1 in the second after John Cornett's RBI single to left scored Brandon Green.

But it was one of just two hits allowed by Rudolph, who said he relied on his fastball after losing confidence in his curve.

In the fifth, Rudolph drove in a runner from third after dropping a bunt toward first with the third baseman creeping in toward the plate.

The game was well in hand by then, though, and the team was serenaded by chants of "Here we go Lakers, here we go!"

All the way to the semifinals Thursday.

With an off day Wednesday, manager Craig Ramey will give his team a little break.

"We'll take it easy, watch some games," Ramey said. "These kids like to play ping pong. If it gets warmer, we'll get into the pool."

Hamilton was eliminated, and manager Tim Nichting said his squad will stick around for a day, but probably leave by the weekend.

"It would have been a lot funner if we won," he said. "But boy, me and 12 kids _ it's time to go home."

Japan 7, Canada 1

Ryo Ogawa allowed two hits and struck out nine in five-plus innings and knocked in two runs to lead unbeaten Japan (2-0). Ogawa carried a no-hitter into the fourth before Evan Douglas singled with one out for Canada (1-1)

Jordan Emerman drove in a run on a fielder's choice with the bases loaded to account for Canada's lone run.

Venezuela 21, Netherlands 2, 4 innings

Unbeaten Venezuela (2-0) exploded for 12 runs in the second inning in a rout of the Netherlands (0-3). The game ended after four innings because of Little League's 10-run rule.

The Netherlands led after the top of the first after Kentaro Ii singled and later scored on a groundout by Roy Sterling.

But the Netherlands never scored again, and were officially eliminated from the tournament.

Omar Villalobos and Miguel Romero each hit two homers for Venezuela (2-0). Manager Jesus E. Paez said he was concerned by the dreary weather, though his team didn't seem to mind it too much, either.

"We've never played in conditions like this," he said through team interpreter Luis Sanchez. "If we keep hitting like that, I'll wish for snow."

The record for most runs in a Little League World Series game is 29, by the Dominican Republic in a shutout of Canada in 1992.