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College Point All-Stars give Ruthian effort, but fall short in World Series

Saturday, August 23rd 2008, 11:20 PM

The College Point All-Stars' bid for the Babe Ruth World Series title ended at about 4:15 p.m. Saturday when center fielder Joseph Morel flew out to left to finish the team's 13-12, extra-inning loss to Bryant, Ark., in the bottom of the eighth.

Despite the disappointment of coming so close to winning the 10-team national tournament, nobody who plays for the squad of 13-year-olds from Queens is likely to forget the experience during the past week in Jamestown, N.Y., any time soon.

Saturday's see-saw final generated a season's worth of emotion by itself.

College Point, which represented the Middle Atlantic Region, carried a 5-4 lead into the sixth inning but surrendered seven runs to Bryant, the tournament's Southwest Region entry. College Point bounced back with six runs in the bottom half of the sixth. Nicanor Luna's ground-rule double scored two runners, and pinch hitter Richard Diaz sliced a two-run single to right, tying the game at 11.

Bryant recaptured the lead with a run in the top of the seventh, but Morel led off the bottom of the inning with a single, stole second and eventually scored on a wild pitch.

College Point had opportunities to win the game in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases with nobody out, but Bryant reliever Tyler Nelson threw out two runners at home on fielder's-choice grounders, and picked off Luna at third to force the extra frame.

Bryant's Tryce Schalchlin singled Daniel Richards home with the  eventual game-winning run, off College Point's Bryan Torres in the top of the eighth. Richards led off with a walk and stole second. Bryant finished the series 6-0.

College Point was led Saturday by Luna (3-for-4, four RBI) and Diego Gonzalez (3-for-4, two stolen bases). Morel went 3-for-6 with three runs scored. Morel, Gonzalez and Adrian Castano Jr. were named to the all-tournament team.

The team won three games before taking its first loss, to Greenville, N.C., on Wednesday, a record good enough to earn a bye in the opening game of the championship rounds.

To reach Saturday's final, College Point pulled itself out of a late nine-run hole to top Westchester, Calif., with an 11-9 victory in the semifinals late Friday night.

The youngsters returned to Diethrick Park - home to the New York-Penn League's Jamestown Jammers - less than 12 hours later to start loosening up for the championship. They opened their sixth game in eight days with five hits in their first at-bat, jumping out to a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the first.

Morel went 14-for-23 with a .913 slugging percentage over the six games, and Castano finished the tournament 9-for-15 with eight walks, 12 RBI and an .867 slugging percentage. Castano also pitched 81/3 innings in four relief appearances and earned two of the team's five victories, despite an 8.40 ERA.
 
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