A site of many historic battles over the years, Matamoros calls itself the city of the undefeated, loyal and heroic.
The Mexican Little League team from that border community — located just south of Brownsville, Texas — showed Canada’s entry in the 75th Little League World Series on Monday that they take the moniker seriously, crushing the previously undefeated Little Mountain Little Leaguers of Vancouver 10-0 with a no-hitter and walk-off hit to end it in the fifth inning.
In a game that started three hours late due to earlier weather issues, both starting pitchers breezed through the first inning. David Zarate of Mexico only needed nine pitches to retire the first three Canadian batters.
But Canada, which had not surrendered a run in earlier wins over Australia (7-0) and Japan (6-0), uncharacteristically came unglued in the bottom of the second inning as pitcher Benjamin (Dart) Dartnell and his Vancouver teammates allowed six runs, committed three errors, overthrew bases and misjudged routine pop flies.
Mexico added two more runs in the third inning when Miguel Padilla hit a towering home run with a teammate on base.
Mexico loaded the bases in the fourth but didn’t score. However, the squad added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth and won the game on the 10-run mercy rule. Mexico stranded eight runners on base in the five-inning game.
The Mexicans, who are one of the teams favoured to win the 2022 title, got stronger at the plate as the game progressed and also showed their defensive chops chasing down everything Canada hit their way. They also had 11 hits and only committed one error.
Mexico will play Taipei City on Wednesday in a battle of powerful 2-0 teams, while Canada (2-1) will face Caribbean Region entry Willemstad, Curaçao on Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET.
The Caribbean squad, which has had trouble scoring runs in Williamsport, opened the LLWS with a 2-0 win over Latin America, then got thumped 9-3 by Panama. Needing a win to stay alive in the modified double-knockout tournament, the Caribbean squeezed past Europe-Africa 1-0 on Sunday.
The winner of the Canada-Caribbean game will play Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET against the winner of Tuesday’s Panama-Nicaragua matchup.