Uganda, the first team from Africa to advance to South Williamsport, Pa., in the 66-year history of the Little League World Series, fell to Aguadulce, Panama, 9-3, on Friday, but that hardly mattered to the fans.
Uganda’s coaches said they did not expect parents of the players to make the expensive trans-Atlantic trip, but Uganda still drew fans who cheered wildly, especially after Daniel Alio’s towering home run to center in the sixth. “I thought I wouldn’t hit a home run,” the soft-spoken Alio said. “But my coach told me to make contact.”
Manager Henry Odong said they were proud to represent Africa, where baseball is an emerging sport but not nearly as popular as soccer. “The rest of Africa is behind us,” Odong said in recounting his message to players after early struggles at the plate. “People are watching — just make contact.”
Uganda, however, managed only three hits and committed four errors. But it had its share of highlights, too.
“This is the biggest crowd that we have ever seen,” Odong said.
Panama starter Julio Goff struck out seven and allowed only a hit over two and two-thirds innings.