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Venice juniors dominate Day 2 of RBI World Series

MINNEAPOLIS -- Incoming evening storms couldn't put a damper on the final games of round-robin play on Day Two of the RBI World Series.

Both the juniors and seniors from Venice and Chicago matched up on Tuesday at Toni Stone Field in St. Paul, with the Chicago seniors rounding off the morning session with an extra-inning, 5-4 victory.

But the juniors couldn't continue the trend, as a 13-run fourth inning powered Venice to a 14-2 victory over Chicago for its second win in the tournament.

Venice trailed, 2-1, entering the fourth, after giving up two runs in the first. Chicago retired the leadoff batter, but Venice dominated the rest of the inning, missing batting through the order twice by just one at-bat.

"We've been hitting the ball pretty well the whole time," Venice head coach James Guerrero said. "Balls just haven't been falling like they were right there in that fourth. You could say that the bats came alive. We've got some pretty good players that have a lot of talent and I know that's what they're capable of doing."

Venice came into their nightcap with a 1-1 record after a 7-6 loss to Santo Domingo in the morning. But after scoring a tournament-best 14 runs in a single game -- which was cut short in the fifth inning due to inclement weather -- Venice is riding a fair amount of confidence into Wednesday's playoffs.

"Any time that you're able to string some hits together, put some runs on the board, as a player it's definitely a confidence booster," Guerrero said. "After today's morning game, it was a tough loss, but we knew that the important games start tomorrow. For the psyche of the player, when you're getting hits you're going to feel good. And that's the most important thing, going into the playoff rounds."

Guerrero's squad will carry a 2-1 record into the playoffs, which earns them a No. 1 seed in the Junior's West division. Guerrero doesn't plan on saying anything special to Venice before Wednesday's games. Rather, he'll let them ride their new momentum into day.

In the rest of the Junior Division, Chicago opened the day with a 5-3 win over New Orleans before falling to Venice. New Orleans, which also saw its night game cut short, took a 5-1 win over Santo Domingo.

Harrisburg opened the day with a 4-1 win over Pawtucket and earned an 8-1 decision over Miami in the evening for 2-1 record. Miami tied Detroit Arsenal, 5-5, in a mid-morning tilt, while Detroit defeated Pawtucket, 3-2, in another rain-shortened night game.

In the Seniors Division, Detroit PAL kicked off the morning with a come-from-behind win over Harlem, 7-6. Jackson upended Santiago, 10-3, while Harrisburg and Tampa tied, 1-1.

With the Tuesday marking the end of round-robin play, the teams now enter elimination games. Official playoff matchups have yet to be released, but each team will play a morning game, with the winners moving on to an evening matchup. The winners of the evening games determine who will get a chance to play in the championship games at Target Field on Thursday.

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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