HAMMOND | The usual role of the hosting team for the Cal Ripken World Series is to serve as resident patsies.
The drill goes something like this: Thank you for getting the fields ready and for your hospitality, and in return we'll give you an automatic berth, let you play in a few pool-play games, let you take your lumps while promptly getting eliminated, but hey, you can watch the real World Series teams the rest of the way from the bleachers free of charge.
The Hammond Optimist Bulldogs apparently didn't get the memo.
"Yeah, the host teams usually don't go far in these," Bulldogs manager Tom McDermott said, "but we just beat a top caliber team and we're showing that we belong here."
On Saturday, the Bulldogs — behind the dominant pitching of Randall Perrin — shutout the Kingsbridge, N.Y. Knights 5-0.
The Knights, a perennial World Series participant, were undefeated for the season going into its second pool-play game.
"No, I didn't know that (the Knights were undefeated)," said Perrin, who struck out a career-high 14 hitters while yielding one hit and one walk.
Perrin has a fastball that was radar clocked in the mid 70s against the Knights, as well as a wicked slider.
"I felt good in warm-ups and even better when I got out there," said Perrin, who doubled and singled during the game, and homered during the Bulldogs' win against Grand Forks, N.D. the night before.
Against the Knights, Isaac Rosa led the game off with a home run and Liam Ochi had a pair of singles.
The Bulldogs had Sunday off and will be back in action at 8 p.m. today against Opp, Ala.
"Well, I'm going to go swimming, and I hope some of our players will do the same ... or just get away from baseball for a day," said McDermott, whose team is 2-0 and atop the National Division. The top three teams from each five-team division advance the single-elimination bracket starting Wednesday.
"On Monday, we'll get back in the routine with the team getting together at city hall to watch some game video an inspiration movie or two," McDermott said. "Then we'll come here ready to play."
As for the "other" host team, the Crown Point Bulldogs, things didn't get off to the best start in their pool-play opener Saturday against Quincy, Mass.
Quincy lead-off hitter Curtis Frazier took Crown Point starter Logan Ryan's second pitch out of the park.
"I thought, 'Oh, great, I haven't even got to their three and four hitters yet," Ryan said.
When he did get to them, Ryan breezed through them while fanning the next three batter's after Frazier's solo shot.
Ryan would go on to strike out 10 in four innings while yielding one more hit — to Frazier — before Marek Bauner pitched two shutout innings in relief to close out an 8-1 win.
"I was a little tight and nervous at the start," Ryan said. "I thought I threw well, but I've had better stuff."