Nunaka wins again at World Series

Dale Garvey

Evidently, Taria Page was not pleased about going 0 for 3 with a walk in Nunaka Valley's opening-game victory Monday at the Little League Junior Softball World Series.

Tuesday, the shortstop and leadoff hitter got back in the swing of things.

Page hit for the cycle to spearhead Nunaka Valley's 8-5 pool-play win over West Haven, Conn., and remain unbeaten and tied atop Pool B in the nine-team tournament for girls 12-14 years old.

Page doubled down the left field line in the first inning, bashed an RBI triple over the right fielder's head in the second, bombed a solo home run to center field in the fourth and singled in the sixth. She scored three runs and drove in two.

"Sometimes you forget that she's like everyone else -- Taria gets nervous like any other person, and she was for the first game,'' said Nunaka manager Richard Hill. "We look at her sometimes like she's Superman, complete with the cape. She bounced back in a big way.''

Just as it did in Monday's 3-1 win over Eagle Pass, Texas, Nunaka split Tuesday's pitching duties between starter Lauren Syrup and reliever Hannah Peterson.

Syrup went four innings and surrendered six hits and four runs, walking one and striking out two for the win. Peterson went three innings, gave up two hits and one run, didn't walk a batter and struck out four. She retired the first seven batters she faced.

"She's pitching with a ton of confidence,'' Hill said of Peterson.

By pulling Syrup after four innings, Nunaka kept her eligible to pitch in Wednesday's 1 p.m. ADT game against Prague, Czech Republic. Ditto for Peterson. By rule, any pitcher who throws more than four innings in a game is not eligible to pitch the following day.

Nunaka Valley and Maunabo, Puerto Rico, lead the five-team Pool B with 2-0 records. Those teams meet Thursday in the final pool-play game for both clubs.

Nunaka on Tuesday jumped to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on Morgan Hill's RBI single, Jacynne Augafa's bases-loaded walk and Syrup's RBI ground-out. West Haven answered with three runs in the top of the second inning to tie the game.

Nunaka responded just as quickly, using Page's RBI triple that plated Peterson and Hill's RBI ground-out to regain the lead at 5-3 in the bottom of the second.

Nunaka owned a 6-4 lead in the bottom of the sixth, when it boosted that cushion to 8-4. Sierra Rosenzweig scored on a passed ball and Leilani Blair furnished an RBI ground-out.

The Czech Republic team Nunaka faces Wednesday is 0-2. In Nunaka's previous two World Series appearances, for 11-12 year olds in 2009 and last year for 13-14 year olds, it lost to the team representing Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Richard Hill said his club is intent on breaking that trend.

"We've got some real championship pedigree on this team,'' he said. "They know what the mission is.''

Anchorage Daily News