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Conejo Romps Again

Thousand Oaks team beats Davenport, Iowa, 10-0, and is one win from U.S. semifinals.

August 24, 2004|Dan Arritt | Times Staff Writer

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — A dream quickly became a vision, once the Conejo Valley baseball team from Thousand Oaks began its march toward the Little League World Series.

After seven days here, the possibility of winning the championship is being spoken loud and clear.

Conejo Valley made its latest statement Monday in front of 6,850, hammering Northwest of Davenport, Iowa, 10-0, in a pool-play game that was ended in the bottom of the fifth inning by the 10-run mercy rule.

Sean McIntyre threw a one-hitter, and John Lister hit a three-run homer to lead Conejo Valley, which improved to 2-0 after outscoring its opponents, 19-2.

"As long as the pitchers continue throwing great games, we can't be beat," said first baseman Danny Leon, who had three hits and two runs batted in against Davenport Northwest and scored the game-ending run on a single by McIntyre.

Conejo Valley (19-0 overall) concludes pool play this morning against Lincoln, R.I. (1-1).

If Conejo Valley defeats Lincoln, it will win its pool title and play in a U.S. semifinal Thursday against the still-to-be-determined runner-up in the other four-team U.S. pool.

If Conejo Valley loses, it will fall into a three-way tie with Lincoln and Morganton, N.C (2-1).

The team that has allowed the fewest runs per inning here will be the pool winner and the runner-up will be determined by head-to-head competition between the remaining teams.

Conejo Valley Manager Tom Ginther said he preferred to save his No. 1 pitcher, Cody Thomson, for the semifinals, but that was before Lincoln lost Monday night to Morganton, 5-4.

Lincoln, which is facing elimination today, is expected to start its best pitcher, Chris Costantino. Conejo Valley has a substantial advantage if there is a tiebreaker, but Ginther said after Lincoln's loss that he planned to pitch Thomson for at least the first three innings.

"We've got to hold them down," Ginther said.

McIntyre looked dominant against Davenport Northwest. He walked two of the first three batters but then settled into a groove, throwing 20 of his next 22 pitches for strikes and retiring nine in succession before a one-out single in the fourth.

"I was a little nervous," McIntyre said. "But at the same time, I knew I could do it."

Davenport Northwest, which finished 0-3 and ran the Midwest Region's losing streak to 11 at the Little League World Series, did not help its cause, committing five errors. Davenport starter Trevor Kenyon walked six batters for the second consecutive time and gave up three runs on wild pitches.

Lister homered for the fifth consecutive game in the fourth inning, giving Conejo Valley a 9-0 lead.

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