Little League World Series 2011 Final: Should Japan Pitch Around Hagen Danner?
If I didn't know any better, I'd say this Hagen Danner kid is pretty good. Whether he's on the mound or at the bat, Ocean View's Danner gets the job done.
In the Little League World Series title game, Danner is, sadly, not on the mound. However, he has already made his present felt with his bat, as it was his home run in the bottom of the third that tied the game against Japan at 1-1.
This is more or less par for the course for Danner. He came into today's action with a gaudy .556 batting average, and he notched three hits in each of the last two games. Among those six hits were two doubles and a home run. That home run came against the kids from Keystone, and Danner also pitched five and a third shutout innings to lead Huntington Beach to a 2-0 win.
You don't need to tell Ocean View manager Jeff Pratto that Danner has the hot hand. Pratto put him in the leadoff spot against Japan, essentially forcing them to retire him as many times as possible.
Because Danner has already burned the kids from Hamamatsu Minami once, I have no choice but to ask a rather silly question.
Is Japan better off just pitching around Danner?
Because Japan pitcher Shoto Totsuka has retired Danner twice in addition to his home run, the answer would seem to be no. Danner may have gotten a hold of one in the third, but he's by no means dominating.
A fair point, but not taking their chances with Danner is an idea that the Japanese team is going to have to take more and more seriously if the game continues to be a low-scoring affair. It's 1-1 now, and both pitchers (Braydon Salzman for Huntington Beach) have looked pretty good. Taking Danner’s bat out of his hands is going to be a prudent idea next time he comes up.
We shall see. At the rate this one is going, don’t be surprised if we get some free baseball. If we do, Japan may have no choice but to stay away from Danner.
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