Game 14
Midwest 4 vs.
Mid-Atlantic 3

Sunday, August 19, 2007
8:00PM ET

Coon Rapids Still Controls its Destiny at LLWS

Itıs a special moment any time a father has an opportunity to watch his son smack a home run in a Little League game. Imagine Mark Loweıs feeling as he watched his son, Tanner, hit two in the Little League World Series. Tanner Loweıs first homer came in the opening inning when he drove Canaan Cropperıs offering over the left-center field fence. The second was even sweeter, and almost to the identical spot in the bottom of the sixth as the walk-off blast lifted Coon Rapids, Min. to a 4-3 win over Salisbury, Md. Sunday evening. Loweıs two hits and a complete-game one-hitter by pitcher Cody Herrmann kept the Minnesota team in contention.

With the victory, the Midwest champs control their own destiny in order to advance into the championship bracket of the series. Both Coon Rapids and Chandler, Ariz. have one loss, both to Lubbock, Texas  heading into Tuesdayıs final pool game.

Like I told (ESPNıs) Dave Ryan, you really donıt try to be a dad on the baseball field. You are trying to coach a team, prepare them and do things right.  Coon Rapids manager Mark Lowe said, "to watch that tonight was something special. It was special because it is the Little League World Series, but that walk-off home run was great. Itıs a dream come true to be here."

For Tanner Lowe, he wasnıt looking for any certain type of pitch from Cropper. Instead, it was about the team; getting on base to help extend the inning and keep Coon Rapidsı hopes alive to pull out the victory. He took one pitch from Cropper, but the Salisbury hurler hung a curveball right at Loweıs waist. He used his big frame and took a full swing, in sending the ball over the fence. "I just wanted to get on base", Tanner Lowe said. "We needed a base runner and I wanted to get there. I just tried to get a base hit, hit a line drive and it went over".

A day after facing possibly the best pitcher at the World Series, Texas Garrett Williams, the Coon Rapids team was able to put the bat on the ball and rung up Cropper for seven hits. "We told the kids we thought we faced the best Little League pitcher in the world (Saturday)", Mark Lowe said. "I told them it was going to be a lot easier tonight. I thought we were a little too aggressive at the plate because we chased some bad pitches".

Maryland never got any type of read on Herrmann, who continually worked ahead of hitters most of the evening. He threw 57 of his 79 pitches for strikes, and carried a perfect game into the fourth inning before issuing a lead-off walk to Seth Windmuller. He lost the no-hitter when Cropper ripped a 1-0 pitch to deep center field. Outfielder Brent Golobich tried to rob the homer, but just missed as it tied the game at 3-3. Herrmann struck out 12 batters (five of the first six Maryland hitters of the game), and six of the final nine batters.

"We just kept switching the balls like every three pitches. It wasnıt that hard to control, but the weather was tough", said Herrmann, one of the players back from last yearıs team that lost in the Midwest Region semifinals. "All the pressure I had last year kind of helps me deal with the pressure this year", Herrmann said.

Salisbury couldnıt find a way to get runners on base. Besides Cropperıs three-run homer, the only other inning where a runner reached base was the visitorıs half of the sixth when Connor Shockleyıs hard hit to second was bobbled by Lucas Peterson. But the youngster quickly redeemed himself, fielding the next grounder by Cropper, and stepping on second for the force out, ending the inning.

"We struck out 12 times. You canıt do that and win a baseball game", Salisbury manager Chris Yingling said.

You need to put the bat on the ball. He was throwing about 70, and we should be able to hit that.

In the first inning, (assistant coach) Bill (Cropper) called a fastball. Lowe got into it. Canaan wanted to throw a split finger in the sixth inning and Bill called a curveball. He left it hang and the kid hit it out.

Tanner Loweıs first home run gave Coon Rapids a 2-0 lead after one, and the Midwest champs added another in the third on Anthony Mroslaıs two-out single to left that scored Herrmann, who lifted a double off the left fielderıs glove earlier in the inning.

Now, Coon Rapidsı attention turns toward Tuesdayıs game with Chandler.

"Chandler has a very good baseball team",  Mark Lowe said. "I think our two teams match up extremely well. It should be a good ballgame like tonight. The big thing is we wanted to control our own destiny and now we have that. You canıt ask for much more than that at the Little League World Series".


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