Uganda scores historic first win at Series
Gresham National leads 2-0 in the fourth inning before Uganda rallies for the 3-2 victory
WILLIAMSPORT Uganda went from the first team from Africa to play in the Little League World Series, to the first team from the continent to win a game in the Series with their 3-2 come back victory over Gresham National in Tuesdays exhibition.
We were sent here with a lot of hope, and this win is great, Uganda manager Henry Odong said.
The teams took a scoreless game into the fourth inning before Gresham moved in front on Hunter Hemenways two-run triple that landed in the right-field corner. Greg Mehlhaff and Tyler Pederson raced home on the hit.
But Uganda responded it its half of the inning, putting four straight runners on base and pulling even when Danny Alio and Felix Enzama came home when a pair of pitches got to the backstop.
Ugandas Ronald Olaa scored the winning run in the fifth inning when Gresham tried for an inning-ending double play, but an error foiled the attempt and allowed Olaa to race home.
Gresham tried to answer in its final at-bats, but a base-running miscue left the team with two quick outs and Pederson at first base.
With his team one out from making history, Odong walked out to the mound put an arm around relief pitcher Job Echon and pointed at each of his teammates on the field.
I was telling him that hes not playing the game alone, Odong said. I told him to look at his friends out here. If the ball is hit, they will catch it.
On the Gresham side, Hunter Hemenway stepped into the batters box amidst a roaring crowd that was on its feet clapping in anticipation. Hemenway responded with a high fly ball that landed at the feet of a player in center field, moving Pederson to third base.
With the pressure at its highest, Echon caught a line drive on the mound to finish the Uganda victory.
The top half of Ugandas lineup going 6 for 14 (.429) and struck out only three times, showing off something theyve learned in their week-long stay at the Series.
Back home were always trying to kill the ball, but here the top teams hit for contact we did that today, Odong said.
Look for extended game coverage in the Friday, Aug. 24, edition of The Outlook.