Venezuelan little leaguers comfort Dominican Republic pitcher after walk-off win

By Alex Butler   |   Aug. 22, 2017 at 11:03 AM
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Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Omar Romero hit a walk-off triple in the Little League World Series, but Venezuela's sportsmanship left the impact of champions on a crushed opponent.

The Venezuelans, representing Latin America, trailed the Dominican Republic, representing the Caribbean, 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning of the matchup. Then Omar Romero came to the plate to face Latin American star Edward Uceta. Romero worked the count to 2-2 against the righty before swatting a towering hit toward right field. The hit sailed over the right fielder and into the wall. Venezuela's runners on first and second came in and scored, while Romero ended up with a triple and a smile that he's still sporting.

But the scene on the mound was much different. The young Uceta collapsed on the dirt. He buried his face in his hands and in the nearby grass. His body quivered with cries. A sea of green and orange clad opponents danced in jubilation just feet from the dejected pitcher.

Romero was carried by a coach as he pumped his fists through the night sky.

But it wasn't a cast of Dominican Republic coaches or teammates who went out to pick up their distraught 4-foot-8 friend. The Venezuelan coaching staff went up to the boy and scraped him off of the field. His body was nearly limp as he rested his heavy head on a rival coach's shoulders.

He eventually summoned enough strength to walk through the line with his teammates and say good game to his opponents. It was there where he was met with even more sportsmanship, as more rival coaches and players slapped his hand and offered embraces.

One of the longest hugs came from Romero.

Uceta was 0-for-2 at the plate while Romero was 1-for-2. Uceta allowed five hits and two runs, while striking out four, in 3.1 innings.

Latin America battles Mexico at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

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