If Daniel Alio's home run trot wasn't the slowest at this year's Little League World Series, then perhaps he should have taken even more time to enjoy it.
For all the Twitter talk of players here needing timed by a calendar while circling the bases imitating their favorite major leaguer, Alio's home run and ensuing 240-foot stroll capped two of the more satisfying hours in recent LLWS memory.
It cleared the camera stand in deep center field, a blast as deep as any by a seasoned slugger from a U.S. team, showing both the power and the promise of this new Series entrant.
The home run merely dented the margin of defeat however, as Alio and the Lugazi LL team from Middle East/Africa Region champ Lugazi, Uganda, fell, 9-3, to Latin America titlist Aguadulce, Panama, in the debut here of a native African team.
This was perhaps the most anticipated game in the International bracket since a team from Moscow became the first native European one to play here in 2001 when Little League first expanded the Series to 16 teams in a reflection of baseball's global reach beyond the Western hemisphere and eastern Asia.
Friday's game started with Uganda's Justine Makisimu singling to right on the first pitch. It ended with Fred Ojerku striking out in the top of the sixth, but not before Alio made a big memory for those in attendance.
"My coaches were telling me to make contact," Alio said of his home run. "I was trying to make a home run. I just did what they told me. I destroyed it into home run territory."
Along the way there were four errors, which led to four unearned runs, but also a handful of athletic and fundamentally sound defensive stops that showed some promise in the sport for these players.
Two of the more notable ones came in the fifth inning by Ronald Olaa at third base, when he stabbed an Edisson Gonzalez grounder on top of the bag to create a force-out, then snared a line drive from James Gonzalez to end the inning.
The five Uganda pitchers allowed 12 hits between them, but just one walk. Their toughest inning was the second, in which Panama scored five times. Juan Crisp hit an RBI double and scored, and Juilo Goff and Edwin Nieto added RBI singles, but two errors led to most of the damage being unearned.
James Gonzalez doubled and scored in the third as Panama added two more runs, but not before Uganda finally struck.
Feliz Enzama scored Uganda's first run on a passed ball in the top of the third after reaching on a walk.
Uganda coach Henry Odeng didn't know much about Panama going in, other than trying to find it on a map.
"I know it's in South America, right?" Odeng said. "I know they play baseball like we play soccer. I didn't know how small they'd be, just extremely good."
The chance to play on baseball fields instead of soccer pitches will be one enduring experience for these players, and one they hope to bring home if people there can figure out how to build baseball fields. They've seen major leaguers Jimmy Rollins and Derrek Lee visit, and they've had humanitarian assistance in the past decade from Richard Stanley, a retired Staten Island chemist who is here helping to coach, but are looking for more since they have so much less.
"People watching the game tonight, if they were, it was in the place of a rich man," Odeng said. "These kids can't even get that chance, which explains why they don't know who the big ballplayers are. They know Lee and Rollins everywhere, and it's all Phillies, but if you find them in their rooms, they're not watching TV."
Panama manager Luis Gonzalez expected to be playing in front of a crowd rooting for Uganda, and was happy his players eventually adjusted.
"I figured they'd be nervous because it's a big stadium," Gonzalez said through an interpreter. "They'd played in smaller stadiums before, but as the game went on they looked better."