Aruba close to a berth in Friday’s semifinals

BANGOR, ME -- AUGUST 18, 2010 -- Matt Meyer of the US Southwest team is picked off at first base by Aruba's Milton Croes in the 3rd inning of the Wednesday morning Senior League World Series game at Mansfield Stadium.  Aruba defeated Palm Bay, FL 7-3. Photo by Linda Coan O'Kresik
BANGOR, ME -- AUGUST 18, 2010 -- Matt Meyer of the US Southwest team is picked off at first base by Aruba's Milton Croes in the 3rd inning of the Wednesday morning Senior League World Series game at Mansfield Stadium. Aruba defeated Palm Bay, FL 7-3. Photo by Linda Coan O'Kresik
Posted Aug. 18, 2010, at 4:19 p.m.

   BANGOR — San Nicolas, Aruba, made the most of its baserunners and minimized its mistakes Wednesday en route to a 7-3 victory over Palm Bay, Fla., during Pool B play of the 2010 Senior League World Series at Mansfield Stadium.

The win leaves the Latin America champions at 3-1 heading into their off-day Thursday, and they will finish no worse than second place in the Pool B standings, though there could be a three-way tie for first with Manhattan Beach, Calif., and Holmes County, Ohio.

Palm Bay, the U.S. Southeast champion, fell to 0-3 and was eliminated from semifinal contention with one game left against Asia Pacific champion Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, at 1 p.m. Thursday.

Aruba mustered just six hits off Palm Bay starter Matt Romandeti, but also stole six bases in seven attempts and capitalized on three errors while leaving just one runner on base.

“They were able to move their runners along,” said Palm Bay manager Mike Everette.

The Latin American champions also got a solid pitching effort from Abraham Taveras and reliever Richinell Matos. That duo combined to scatter five hits while striking out six batters, walking one and inducing 10 ground-ball outs, primarily to shortstop Ray-Patrick Didder and second baseman Jiandido Tromp.

Aruba capitalized on two errors, an RBI triple to right by Tromp and an RBI single by Juan Carlos Moncion for a three-run rally to take a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth.

“[Romandetti] had been pitching outside, outside, outside on me, so I went with it,” said Tromp of his triple, Aruba’s only extra-base hit of the day.

Palm Bay closed within 4-3 with an unearned run after two were out in the fifth. Chandler Lawson was grazed by a pitch, and special pinch runner Jordan Rothschild went to third on an errant pickoff throw before scoring when Aruba center fielder Jermain Manuel misplayed a fly ball by Andrew Gouzman.

Romandetti struck out the side in the bottom of the inning, but Aruba manfactured three insurance runs in the sixth.

Tromp drew a leadoff walk before cleanup hitter Mitchell Martes sacrificed Tromp to second, one example of the small ball that served Aruba well and also tested the Palm Bay defense.

“We thought it was important to get that fifth run to take the pressure off our pitcher,” said Aruba manager Rayborne Didder.

Shawn Duinkerk followed with an RBI single to center, stole second and later stole third after a two-out walk to Jose Luis Gonzalez. Duinkerk scored on a wild pitch by Palm Bay reliever Jimmy Tolle, and Matos made it 7-3 with an RBI single to center.

“”They really did make some runs there,” said Everette. “They caught us at the end of our pitch count with Romandetti and we were maybe a little thin there and they had guys who put the bat on the ball,” said Everette. “They played some small ball and it worked well for them.”

Palm Bay jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Gouzman led off by singling up the middle on an 0-2 pitch and scoring when Tolle hit a one-out double to the left-center field gap.

Tolle scored when cleanup hitter Matt Rose pulled a double down the left-field line.

Romandetti retired the first six batters he faced until Gonzalez led off the Aruba third with a walk. Taveras sacrificed Gonzalez all the way to third base, and after Ray-Patrick Didder reached on a bunt single, Gonzalez scored on an errant throw as Didder was stealing second to cut the gap to 2-1.

U.S. Southeast (0-3)    200 010 0     — 3 5 3

Latin America (3-1)    001 303 x     — 7 6 2

Romandetti, Tolle (6) and Lawson; Taveras, Matos (6) and Gonzalez; WP-Taveras (1-0); LP-Romandetti (0-1); Repeat hitters: none; Extra-base hits: 2B: Tolle (SE), Rose (SE), Knight (SE); 3B: Tromp (LA)

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