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LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES : Yorba Hills Makes the Biggest Play Pay Off : Baseball: Nicholson's catch robs Toms River of homer in 8-3 victory, earning berth in U.S. final.

August 24, 1995|PAUL McLEOD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — David Nicholson didn't know at first just how big a play it would be. All he saw was the ball leaving the bat and heading high over his head into deep center field.

Nicholson raced to the Lamade Stadium wall, leaped and snagged the ball as it flew downward past the fence.

The catch not only robbed Colin Gaynor of a two-run home run, it helped Yorba Hills stay alive in the Little League World Series with an 8-3 victory Wednesday over Toms River, N.J.

The victory set up a rematch in the U.S. championship game today at 1:30 p.m. (PST) between Yorba Hills and Spring, Tex., which defeated Yorba Hills, 8-2, Tuesday.

"That play sparked our club," Yorba Hills Manager Roy Watson said. "David is a very aggressive athlete. If he has to dive through a fence to get a ball, he'll do it."

Nicholson managed to hold onto the ball despite hanging by the waist over the rail of the four-foot green wooden fence.

The catch quieted Toms River after Yorba Hills led, 4-0, on two-run homers by Robert Nesbitt and pitcher Matt Campbell.

In the third, Toms River scored on two walks, a stolen base and a fielder's choice and had a man on first with two out when Gaynor stepped to the plate.

"That was a great catch," Toms River Coach Mike Gaynor said. "A thing like that can change the tide of a ballgame. It hurt us. It would've picked up any team."

After the game, all thoughts quickly turned to the rematch with Spring. Yorba Hills players say the Texas players gloated after their last victory over them.

Yorba Hills is 18-2. Toms River ended its season 21-5.

The U.S. champion plays the winner of today's 10:30 a.m. game between Taiwan and the Dominican Republic in the World Series final on Saturday.

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