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Fierce competition opens Day 1 of RBI World Series

MINNEAPOLIS -- Heading into their nightcap tilt on Monday, both Detroit PAL and Tampa were searching for their first wins in the RBI World Series.

Both teams suffered losses earlier in the day as Detroit fell, 4-1, to Harrisburg and Tampa lost to Harlem, 6-5.

After three innings, it looked like Detroit was going to go without a win on day one as it took an early 2-0 deficit and continued to leave runners stranded. But after batting through the order in the fourth and a rally in the sixth, Detroit took the decision over Tampa, 5-2.

Detroit head coach Mark Brown said the difference in the fourth was simply their ability to hit the ball -- finally.

"We finally hit the baseball," Brown said. "We scored one run this morning and in the regionals -- other than the championship game -- we had problems scoring runs. I told the guys, 'If you want to play the last day, you've got to hit the baseball.' Guys got to get in the batter's box and compete."

Tampa opened the game with a two-run first inning as Detroit starter Terrell Walker needed 29 pitches to get through the frame. He ended up throwing 5 2/3 innings of the six-inning game which was shortened due to the time limit. Walker threw 106 pitches on the evening with seven strikeouts.

"He's a strikeout pitcher, so I know he throws a lot of pitches," Brown said. "But I just told him to keep battling until he finds it and he found a groove. He gave up two in the first inning and shut them down the rest of the way. ... He battled. He didn't have his best stuff today, but he fought and fought the whole game."

Brown also noted the necessary energy it takes for teams to bounce back after a loss and win that second game, especially in this tournament.

"You've got to be able to put the first game behind you, even it you win," Brown said. "You have to have a short memory and just come out, ready to play. I thought the guys did a good job in the second game, being ready to play, and playing the whole game."

Through the rest of the Senior Division, Venice RBI jumped ahead with two wins on the day -- 6-4 over Jackson RBI and 7-2 over Santiago RBI. Santiago did earn a 12-8 win over Chicago White Sox RBI early in the morning. Chicago bounced back in their second game of the day with a 10-1 win over tournament newcomer Jackson, leaving the Mississippi team with an 0-2 record after the first day.

Like Venice, Harrisburg also swept day one with the 4-1 morning win over Detroit and a 14-1 rout over Harlem.

In the Juniors Division, each team only saw action once with doubleheaders coming on day two. Detroit Arsenal eked out a 4-3 win over Harrisburg as did Miami, 2-1, over Pawtucket. Venice stung newcomers New Orleans with a shutout 6-0 win, while Santo Domingo and the Chicago Cubs RBI played to a 6-6 tie.

For the third consecutive year, the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series is being hosted by the Twins, with baseball and softball tournament games scheduled to be played through Aug. 14 on various fields throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul. The RBI World Series is the international baseball and softball tournament of the RBI program.

Kelly Erickson is an associate reporter for
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