LO Little League team might be facing a must-win situation after a first-round loss
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - If you showed up late for the start of the Little League World Series and happened upon Lake Oswego's team in the batting cages, you probably could not have guessed that it had lost its opening game.
The kids were laughing and joking with each other, showing the qualities that have made this team so successful.
Lake Oswego is fighting from behind again, almost certainly needing two straight wins to advance out of pool play. But there was no sense of fatalism from the 12-year-olds. If anything, the team was even more confident than it was heading into its first contest, a 9-4 loss to Georgia.
Lake Oswego will take on Massachusetts today at 12:30 p.m., playing a team that has received a considerable amount of media attention, thanks to its dramatic 3-2 victory on Friday in which the final out was recorded on a home run-saving catch.
"That was a great game. It was well-played and I expect a lot of defense tomorrow," Lake Oswego manager Craig Ramey said.
The players and coaches saw that game and are optimistic.
"Both of those teams threw their best (pitcher) and we have hit pitchers who have thrown harder," Lakew Oswego's Mitch Lomax said.
Hitting might not be Lake Oswego's biggest worry.
Although the team was held to just one run through the first five innings of play against Georgia, it only struck out three times and hit a number of sharp ground balls that went directly to Georgia's infielders.
But Lake Oswego had trouble getting outs early in the game. After an error spotted Georgia two unearned runs, five Lake Oswego pitchers walked seven batters in the contest.
Lomax, who had the best outing of the evening, retiring all four batters he faced, including three with strikeouts, will likely get the start for his team today.
"My arm's not too bad. I didn't feel that nervous (against Georgia). It felt just like a district game and I just tried to tune everything out," Lomax said.
Scoring runs early against Massachusetts may be a key to success for Lake Oswego as the team took a while to adjust to the pitching in its first game.
"We're going to try and hit the ball the other way early on and hopefully be able to pull it later," said Reid Penney, who had a sixth-inning RBI double against Georgia.
Lake Oswego had the advantage of a day off between games, one that the players spent with their families, something that Ramey thinks will help.
"It gives us another day to get acclimated. We've come a long way so any time off is always good," the manager said.
On Saturday evening, Georgia fell to Ohio. So, if Lake Oswego beats Massachusetts, all four teams in the pool will be tied at 1-1 and the winner of Monday's games would then automatically advance to the single-elimination round.