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  Tue, August 24, 2004


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NFL CANADA




Eagles exciting run grounded by defeat
By CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

The East Nepean Eagles knew they could compete with the best in the world.

They proved it last night by hanging tough against powerhouse Shou-Tien, Taiwan, before dropping a 7-2 decision at Lamade Stadium in South Williamsport, Pa.

But showing they belonged on the world stage didn't take the sting out of having their magical, remarkable run over the last few weeks come to an end.

"The kids are upset. They're hurting right now because they really wanted to win for Canada," said Eagles manager Mike Crepin.

'WE COMPETED'

"But we told them they can't let the loss ruin their experience here. It was a tough, tough loss, but we competed."

The Eagles were down just 1-0 when a bloop hit dropped in, leading to a couple of runs for Taiwan. It was 6-0 in the sixth inning when the Eagles mounted a bit of a comeback.

"They threw a little junkballer at us and every time we were thinking fastball, it fell off the table," said Crepin. "Everytime we looked for the junk, he threw fastball. He got in our heads. He did a great job."

The loss eliminated the Eagles (0-2) from the possibility of advancing to the playoffs, but the 11- and 12-year-olds will have a chance to finish up the round-robin portion of the tournament with a win today over Poland (1 p.m., ESPN2).

Crepin has had the opportunity to scout the Polish team in their two losses, 18-0 to Chinese Taipei and 9-0 to Panama.

Since the Little League World Series went to a 16-team format in 2001, Canadian teams are now 1-10, so a win today for the Eagles over Poland would be significant.

"I really think we'll win that game (today)," said Crepin.

The Eagles dropped their opening game 12-2 to Panama in which the Canadians managed just one hit and the game was stopped in the fourth inning on the mercy rule.

WRAP UP TODAY

Though they will wrap up their official schedule today, the Eagles will remain in Williamsport until Monday and are attempting to arrange some exhibition games against other teams.

One game the Eagles would like to play is against an American team from Kentucky, the only other team to have a girl in the lineup.

Crepin said he would like to have Eagles third baseman Alexandra Bellini pitch against her female counterpart.

Also yesterday, Sean McIntyre struck out eight, then drove in the game-winning run as Conejo Valley of Thousand Oaks, Calif., (2-0) routed Davenport (Iowa) Northwest 10-0, in five innings. The loss eliminated Iowa (0-3) from playoff consideration.