August 11, 2003 — The Virgin Islands Explorers continued their dominance in Day 2 of the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame 12-and-under tournament Monday in Cooperstown, New York, defeating the New Hampshire Diamond Devils, 9-2, and the Glen Oaks Queens Knights, 17-2.
After four decisive victories in the first two days of the tournament, the Explorers were ranked fifth out of 64 teams taking part. Play continues through Wednesday morning, with elimination games starting Wednesday afternoon.
Compared to Sunday's action, the Explorers did things a little differently on Monday, but the end result remained the same. They showed solid, error-free defense in keeping the Diamond Devils scoreless through the first four innings of play. Meanwhile, they used a nine run, 11-hit attack to give starting pitcher Akeem Fleming all the support he would need.
The Diamond Devils scored a run the top of the fifth and another in the sixth inning to account for their two runs.
Ryan Thomas and Akeem each had three hits in three at bats to lead the Explorers' offensive attack. José Rivera also was perfect at the plate in his two appearances, hitting a two-run homer to cap off a five-run third inning. Kai Smith and Jerome Bute each had a hit in one official plate appearance.
Akeem picked up the victory for the Explorers, while J. Senelal received the lost for the Diamond Devils.
In the day's second game, the Explorers continued their offensive attack, scoring their first 11 runs in the first inning and the other six in the second to put the game out of the Knights' reach. The Explorers also got all of their 11 hits in those first two innings, six in the first and five in the second.
The Knights scored their first run in the top of the third inning and the other in the fourth.
In this game, the top hitters for the Explorers were Malik Graham with two hits in two at bats and Khamal Simmonds and Akeem with two hits apiece in three plate appearances. Khamal also hit a two-run homer in the second inning. Deron Hanley, José, Franklin Johnson and Shakeem Trotman each had a hit in one at bat..
Joey Caraballo had the lone hit for the Knights, in the top of the fourth inning.
Khamal recorded the victory for the Explorers and had six strikeouts. Patrick Floriral absorbed the lost for the Knights.
Out of the 64 teams in the tournament, the top 16 will play in a single-elimination format for the championship. The elimination games start Wednesday afternoon, with the championship game to be played on Thursday evening. The Explorers are playing in the ninth week of what is a 10-week tournament. The winners of each week's competition will return to play in the 11th week for the overall championship.
The Explorers are scheduled to play Tuesday at 1:45 p.m. against the Foxboro, Massachusetts, Warriors, and again at 7 p.m. against the West Coast Prospects from California. On Wednesday, the Explorers are to play the Scottsdale, Arizona, Blaze at 10 a.m.
Publisher's note : Like the St. Thomas Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.