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Mexico tops Australia in walk-off fashion in LLWS opening round, 3-2

Mexico's Angel Martinez, center, is mobbed by his teammates as they celebrate his game-winning hit against Australia during the sixth inning of an international pool play baseball game at the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa., Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Tom E. Puskar)

WILLIAMSPORT — Mexico took their game in dramatic walk-off fashion, thanks to a walk-off single at the end of the game to topple Australia. Mexico was down 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning when Angel Martinez singled on the first pitch of the at bat, scoring two runs.

The pitching was strong on both sides. Mexico pitchers struck out 17, while Australia pitchers sat down 11.

Australia opened up scoring in the first inning, when Oscar Hyde homered on a 2-2 count, scoring two runs.

Alberto Gomez earned the win for Mexico. He lasted one and two-thirds innings, allowing zero hits and zero runs while striking out five and walking one.

Jake Calver took the loss for Australia. He allowed three hits and two runs walking zero.

Gael Ponce started the game for Mexico. He went four and a third innings, allowing two runs on two hits and striking out 12. Oscar started the game for Australia. He allowed three hits and one run over five and two-thirds innings, striking out 11.

Angel led Mexico with two hits in two at bats.

PLAY OF THE GAME: Angel Martinez’s two-run game-winning double – The No. 8-hole hitter in the lineup, Martinez capped a run of three straight hits for Mexico in the final inning with his first-pitched double to deep right-center field in the bottom of the sixth inning to cap a two hit performance.

AUSTRALIA PLAYER OF THE GAME: Oscar Hyde – Easy choice as the starting pitcher was just a few pitches short of a complete game. Hyde threw 5 2/3 innings of three-hit baseball on 88 pitches. He also struck out 11 and retired 12 of the 13 final batters he faced, including the final six. He also provided Australia’s only two runs with his two-run blast in the top of the first inning.

MEXICO PLAYER OF THE GAME: Martinez – His game-winning double halted an upset-minded Australian squad as Mexico advances to the winner bracket. Relief pitcher Alberto Golmez pitched a nearly perfect 1 2/3 innings of relief, allowing just one baserunner and striking out five to earn the win.

BIG INNING: Mexico bottom of sixth – After Hyde was pulled from the game with his 88 pitches and two outs in the final inning, Mexico took advantage and belted three straight hits, a double by Fernando Lopez gave Mexico some momentum and Issak Arias followed with a single that nearly scored Lopez, but a strong throw from Australian left fielder Mitchell Anderson held him at third, but it didn’t matter. Martinez took the first pitch he saw and belted it into the gap for the win.

BEST EFFORT: Just like in the first International game, a dominant starting pitching performance was wasted. Hyde did everything at the plate and on the mound to give his squad the win, but he was just a few pitches short of doing so.

HOME RUNS: In the top of the first inning, Australia’s Oscar Hyde belted a one-out, 2-2 pitch, two-run home run about 245 feet right at the base of the Mexican flag beyond the right field wall.

FLASHING LEATHER: Australia’s right fielder Jeff Grimmond made a full-extension, diving grab in shallow right field with a runner on first and two outs in the bottom of the first to preserve a one-run Australian lead.

In the top of the second, Mexican catcher Emilio Cano blocked a wild pitch and scooped the ball out of the dirt and fired down to second base where shortstop Carlos Garza made an athletic leaping grab and a tag on the Australian runner’s shoulder to get the final out of the inning. Australia shortstop Zach Smith made an impressive sliding stop in the dirt and made a strong throw from his knees to first in the bottom of the fifth inning to get out of the inning.

WHAT THE ADULTS SAY: “Oscar (Hyde), special, special kid. I’m disappointed he’s not sitting here (at the press conference), I really think he should,” Australia manager Brent Iddon said. “5 2/3 shutout innings, two-run home run, bomb too. He should be here. I’m lucky to have him on my team.”

WHAT THE KIDS SAY: “The game is not over until it’s over so just keep fighting,” Mexico’s Fernando Lopez said through an interrupter.

WHAT IT MEANS: Australia drops to the losers’ bracket where it takes on the Caribbean regional champions from?Puerto Rico on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Volunteer Stadium.

Mexico takes on the Asia-Pacific regional champions from South Korea on Sunday at 9 a.m. at Volunteer Stadium in the winners’ bracket.

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