Originally created 08/20/00

Overtime: Little League World Series begins today



The athletes play Gameboy at night, cry when they lose a game and can ride the bus for half-price.

The world's best 11- and 12-year-old baseball players also are getting a dose of adulthood: being on the road for up to a month, fielding questions from journalists and representing their countries in one of the largest sports playoffs in the world -- the Little League World Series.

"The best description is: When we started, we had 13 young boys. And when we bring them back, they are 13 young men," said David Trimble, manager of the High Park team from Toronto, Ontario.

"I don't think there's another sport in the world other than baseball that you can work your way through all season and then represent your country at the end when you're a 12-year-old boy or girl."

The Little League World Series begins in Williamsport, Pa., today, with four teams from the United States competing to play the winner of the four-team international bracket in the championship game next weekend.

The first game today has Musashi Fuchu of Tokyo, Japan, playing Sierra Maestra of Venezuela.

The championship is next Saturday at 4:30 p.m., and will be shown live on ABC. Nine of the 15 playoff games will be televised.

TENNIS:

Defending champion Martina Hingis reached the final of the $1.08 million du Maurier Open tennis tournament Saturday with an easy 6-3, 6-2 victory over Conchita Martinez.

The top-seeded Hingis will play the winner of the second semifinal between Serena Williams and two-time du Maurier champion Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario.

It didn't appear likely at first, but Gustavo Kuerten found a way to beat Lleyton Hewitt in Saturday's RCA Championships semifinals.

The top-seeded Brazilian, playing Hewitt for the first time, fell behind 5-2 in the first set before he gained control of the match and finished with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over the No. 5 seed.

Kuerten, previously known as a clay-court specialist, seeks his first hardcourt title in today's finale of the $870,000 ATP Tour event at the Indianapolis Tennis Center. He will play the winner of Saturday's night match between third-seeded Marat Safin and seventh-seeded Tim Henman.

Slovakia's Daniela Hantchukova rallied from five games down in the third set to overtake Marlene Weingartner of Germany 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (1) Saturday and reach the final of the $100,000 GHI Bronx Tennis Classic.

Winner of two titles in 1999, but still looking for her first victory this year, the 17-year-old Hantchukova will play top-seeded Jing Qian Yi of China, who reach the title match by beating Francesca Schiavone of Italy 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5).

GOLF:

Augusta's Laura Coble and Kathi Kutzler of Atlanta led the Georgia Women to a 33'-20' victory in the Georgia vs. Florida Women's Team Matches in Orlando, Fla.

In Friday's second-round action, Coble and Kutzler won all but a half-point in their matches to allow the Georgians to break away for their second consecutive triumph over the Floridians. Going into Friday's competition, the match was tied at 9 points each. Georgia's team scored 24' points to only 11' points for Florida.

HORSE RACING:

Snow Polina beat favored Happyanunoit by a length Saturday in the $500,000 Grade I Beverly D. at Arlington (Ill.) International Racecourse.

Snow Polina, the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare ridden by Jerry Bailey, ran 1 3-16 miles in 1:55.87 on the turf course, and paid $11, $3.20 and $3.

The $300,000 first prize almost doubled Snow Polina's career total to $687,634. She has three victories in seven starts this year.

BASKETBALL:

Patrick Ewing has given the New York Knicks a list of eight teams to which he will accept a trade, and a deal with the Seattle SuperSonics for Vin Baker has been discussed, the New York Daily News reported Saturday.

Ewing, 38, has played his entire 15-year career with the Knicks. He is entering the final season of a four-year, $60 million contract but has said he plans to play for three more years.

Baker, 10 years younger than Ewing, is due to make $10 million next season -- meaning other players would have to be included in a deal to make it work under NBA salary cap guidelines. Ewing's salary for the upcoming season will be $14 million.

Also on the list were the Washington Wizards, the report said.