WIILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Midwest Region coach Steve Nolan put it best on Friday after the opening game of the 2008 Little League World Series.
"The wheels fell off in the top of the first inning," Nolan said. "We couldn't get the wheels back on."
Nolan's assessment summed up the 10-0 loss his Canyon Lake Little League team from South Dakota, the Midwest champions, dropped to Citrus Park, Fla., the winners of the Southeast Region.
Canyon Lake saw Citrus Park score eight times in the first. A pair of runs in the second put Nolan's team in jeopardy of losing because of the 10-run rule. When Canyon Lake couldn't push across a run in the next two innings, the game went to Citrus Park.
But it was the first inning that gave Citrus Park all the offense it needed to win its first game of the World Series.
That inning started with walks to Kevin Merrell and Ryan McCullers. Canyon Lake pitcher Tanner Simons, struggling with the strike zone, hit Michael McGuire in the helmet with a pitch to load the bases for Wyatt Reid, the hero of the championship game in the Southeast Region.
As he had done in the regional, Reid produced the big hit. His triple cleared the bases, putting Citrus Park ahead, 3-0.
"We had momentum after that," Coach John McGuire said. "We kept scoring runs."
VENEZUELA 8, CANADA 1: Right-hander Kevin Morales held the Canadian team from White Rock, British Columbia, to three hits and one run in pitching a complete game in the D Pool. Morales got plenty of offensive support, much of it coming in the third inning. Venezuela broke open a 2-1 game with a four-run inning. With the bases loaded, Aroldo Sanchez lined a single to left that knocked in a pair of runs. Venezuela, winners of the Latin American Region, sealed the game with two runs in the top of the sixth.
WEST 3, NEW ENGLAND 1: Pitcher Caleb Duhay held Shelton National (Conn.), winners of the New England Region, to one run on one hit in a ballgame delayed for one hour and 45 minutes because of a thunderstorm. In a game that featured dueling pitchers, Duhay and Tokunaga got the better of it. They nursed a one-run lead until Pikai Winchester hit a solo homer in the fifth. "One extra run gave the incoming pitcher room to breathe," coach Timo Donahue said. Tanner Tokunaga was the incoming pitcher, and he worked a scoreless sixth. Shelton got a strong performance from Eddie Kochiss and Tyler Tice, but unable to solve the superior pitching of the team from Waipahu, Hawaii. Kochiss hit a solo homer for Shelton.
Justice B. Hill is a reporter for MLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.