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West Chandler (Ariz.) Little League pitcher Seth Fretheim didn't mind defeating Coon Rapids (Minn.) Little League Wednesday night 9-2--even if the opposing pitcher was a relative of his.
"I'm sort of related to Minnesota starting pitcher (Adam Recksiedler)," said Fretheim. "Somehow. Mother's cousin's nephew. I don't know."
What Fretheim does know is that the potent West Chandler offense can strike at any time--even if initially frustrated as they were in the first two innings of their game against Coon Rapids.
"We might strike out the side the first inning," said Fretheim. "And then come back with everyone getting a hit in the next inning. You never know. This offense is funny like that."
Though everyone didn't get a hit in West Chandler's half of the fifth inning, the West regional champion pushed seven runs across and sent 10 batters to the plate in the frame--including Kyle Pechloff who drove in two with a key single to keep the inning alive. Pechloff also made a leaping stop at second base to help his pitcher keep out of a big inning.
"That play really helped me," said Fretheim. "You'll see it on ESPN."
Fretheim's "mother's cousin's nephew" did his best to neutralize West Chandler. By spotting a powerful fastball, Recksiedler allowed two runs over four innings and struck out six. But pitch count regulations instituted this year at the Little League World Series left Recksiedler, who had thrown 75 pitches by the end of the fourth inning and was just 10 short of the Little League limit, unable to finish the game.
Despite the loss Coon Rapids manager Mark Lowe firmly supports the measures Little League Baseball has introduced to protect the young arms of the game.
"I really like the pitch count," said Lowe. "I went through this in 2003 and a lot of the kids who pitched with my son aren't pitching today. This will be good for the longevity of the kid's careers--and that's what this is all about."
Arizona's next opponent will be Southeast regional champion Warner Robins of Georgia. After what Lowe saw tonight he's not sure anybody will be able to beat West Chandler.
"Man, they're good. A very good hitting team," said Lowe. "There might be a few teams who have better pitching overall, but hitting-wise they match up with anybody. And if you can hit in Little League you can do anything."
Georgia Faces Opponent Off the Field
Not much has stopped Warner Robins (Ga.) Little League en route to the Little League World Series U.S. Semifinal. That may change with word that two unidentified Georgia players failed blood tests denoting adequate levels of measles vaccination.
This does not mean the players have contracted measles (rubeola), just that they required immediate vaccinations after their win over Walpole Little League. (It was nearly one week ago that a player on the team representing Japan positively contracted measles, prompting Little League officials to review vaccination information for all players.)
Dusty Baker Has Left the Building
The former LA Dodger, Major League manager and recent inductee into the Little League World Series Hall of Fame spent time visiting the ESPN broadcast booth on Wednesday during the West Chandler/Coon Rapids game. One reporter joked that Dusty wouldn't be able to manage on the Little League level, since he had never used a pitch count in his life.