SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Before Wednesday's game, Boynton Beach, Fla. pitcher Michael Broad didn't seem impressed with the three home run game Chandler National slugger Cory Bernard had the night before against Eldridge, Ohio.
“The (Iowa) kid was throwing right down the middle at 65 miles per hour,'' Board said. “It was like batting practice. (Bernard) should have done that. It's pretty pathetic if he didn't do it.''
When you are 12-years-old and you throw the ball over 80 miles per hour, you can talk like that. And Broad let his fastball speak good and loud at Lamade Stadium, retiring 18 of the 21 batters he faced — 10 by strikeout — pitching a one-hitter and carrying his team to a 4-1 win with relative ease.
“He just threw that gas all night and we couldn't get around on it,'' Chandler coach Eddie Malone said “He's the hardest pitcher we faced all year. Just dominant.''
Chandler pitcher Justin Rosales threw well (six hits, six strikeouts) but couldn't stop Florida cleanup hitter Richie DeJesus, who had three hits, drove in two runs and scored another to give his team all the offense it needed.
The Chandler coaches toyed with the idea of matching Bernard, their ace pitcher, against Board. But Bernard had thrown 117 pitches in a win over Richmond, Tex, on Sunday and normally requires five days of rest between outings. “We're not going to hurt the kid,'' Chandler assistant coach Mike Benjamin said. “It would be like asking Randy Johnson to come back on two days rest. Maybe he had an inning or two, but to ask him to throw another complete game this soon is just too much.''
Bernard wanted the chance to pitch, but father Doug Bernard sided with the coaches' decision.
“I won't second-guess these guys, they got us to the U.S. semifinals doing something right,'' he said. “If things had worked out, we would have been in great shape Saturday. This was a predetermined rotation and that's just the way it fell.''
For the fourth time in four games, Chandler fell behind early. Florida catcher Devon Travis led off the game with a triple to the left-field corner, and scored on a sacrifice fly by the next batter, Jordan Irene. But Arizona came right back against Board in the first.
Bernard reached first base on an error, went to second on a passed ball and scored when catcher Tim Fowler laced a double to left center. It was Fowler's fifth straight hit over two games, but it was the only one Chandler had all night.
The scored stayed tied until the fourth when Florida pieced together three straight hits, including RBIs by DeJesus and right fielder R.J. Neal. to take the lead for good. DeJesus scored Irene in the fifth with another single to give Florida a three-run cushion.
“We had a little chance at 1-1 but the way they hit and executed, you have to give Florida credit,'' Chandler coach Eddie Malone said. “Justin gave us all he had. It's unfortunate we couldn't use Cory, but I'll take this team anytime. All us coaches rode on the coattails of these kids.''
Over the final five inning Bernard — who reached on an error to open the fourth inning — was Chandler's only baserunner. Broad had at least one strikeout in every inning and retired 16 of the last 17 hitters, fanning Bernard to end the game.
“We still felt like we had a chance because we're a good comeback team, but we didn't adjust our swings the way we needed to," said first baseman Matt Potter. “Only four teams from Arizona have been here and only four U.S. teams were left before (Wednesday). That makes you proud.''