The UAE's representatives at the qualifying tournament for the Little League World Series in the Philippines will have one last shot at success on Friday when they face Guam.
The team, made up of the leading 11- and 12-year-old baseball players from across the Emirates, slipped to a fourth straight defeat at the Asia Pacific and Middle East regional qualifier Thursday. Despite the best efforts of starting pitcher Hayden Davidson, who continued to pitch despite being hit by a powerful line drive, the UAE side lost to Indonesia by 10-5.
Although the UAE's touring side at the 12-team event mostly comprises expatriate children from the United States, there are other nationalities representing the country, too.
For example, Osama Hoshida, the side's catcher, is Japanese-born, and Helmi Yatim was playing against his homeland yesterday.
The Gems World Academy schoolboy achieved four hits against Indonesia, for whom his older brother, Hakeem, had once played in this competition before the family moved to Dubai.
"It was fun playing against Indonesia because I knew a lot of the players; they are my friends so it was quite intense at the same time," Yatim said.
"It has been a tough week because we haven't won a game yet, which kind of makes you feel angry, but the other teams have been very good."
The UAE contingent travelled to the Philippines last week with outside aspirations of qualifying to play in the World Series at Williamsport in the United States - and thus on ESPN television.
They were aware the competition would be tough - perhaps not quite this tough, though.
According to the team's coaches, the young players have acquitted themselves as best they could but have been overpowered by sides of greater pedigree for the sport.
"We have been playing some very strong teams who have obviously been doing this in this region for many, many years," said Joe Page, the team's coach.
"Even though we haven't got any victories we have fought well but have just been up against better competition."
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