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Victory Moves Thousand Oaks Toward China

Little League: Area team batters Kaneohe, 13-3, and will meet three-time defending champion Taipei in first round of Senior World Series in Florida.

August 09, 1996|BRYAN RODGERS

Finally, the Thousand Oaks Senior Little League team of 14-15-year-olds is headed for a challenge.

Swamping its opposition in the Western Regional, Thousand Oaks qualified for the Senior World Series by defeating Kaneohe, Hawaii, 13-3, Thursday in a game at Missoula, Mont., called after six innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.

Thousand Oaks will face Chinese Taipei on Monday in Kissimmee, Fla., at 9 a.m. in a first-round game of the double-elimination tournament.

Chinese Taipei is the three-time defending Senior World Series champion.

"It's a challenge for us," Coach Mark Davis said. "But if anyone is going to beat them, our team is the one with the best chance."

While in Montana, opposing teams had little chance of beating Thousand Oaks.

In sweeping three games, Thousand Oaks (15-0) outscored its opponents, 56-10, including a 31-6 first-round victory over Red Rock, Nev.

Thousand Oaks had 12 home runs and its pitching staff allowed only five earned runs.

"Any time someone has threatened us, we have come up with huge amounts of runs," Davis said.

Kaneohe, which lost to Thousand Oaks, 12-1, earlier in the tournament, scored in the third inning to take a 1-0 lead.

Then, almost as if on cue, Thousand Oaks rallied with five runs in both the third and fourth innings to take a 10-1 lead.

Ryan Ayers hit two home runs and had three runs batted in for Thousand Oaks. Ayers ended the game with a solo home run in the sixth that pushed Thousand Oaks' lead to 10.

Kevin Howard also homered and drove in three runs, and Fran Adams added two hits and two RBIs.

Eight starters combined for 12 hits. Wes Munyon was the only starter without a hit, but he walked three times.

Chris Strauser (2-0) allowed three hits and three runs in 4 1/3 innings. Reliever Chris Cordiero pitched a scoreless 1 2/3 innings, allowing one hit.

The nucleus of players on the Thousand Oaks team won the Little League World Series for 13-year-olds in Taylor, Mich. in 1994. That team and this year's version have a combined 33-1 record.

"Some of the locals in Montana were saying our team was the best they've ever seen for our age group," Davis said. "They couldn't believe how far our kids could hit the ball."

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