SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT – If Friday afternoon’s first game is any indication, the 61st annual Little League World Series should be very entertaining.
Walpole, Mass. rallied for three runs in the top of the sixth inning and center fielder Michael Rando made a game-saving catch in the bottom of the sixth at the New England Regional champs beat Hamilton, Ohio, 3-2 in front of 7,822 fans at Volunteer Stadium.
Walpole trailed 1-0 entering the top of the sixth. With one out, Matthew Bender singled. After a wild pitch, John Adams was intentionally walked. After another wild pitch put runners on second and third, John White followed with a two-run double to the center-field fence to give Walpole a 2-1 lead. After an out and another single, Samuel Falkson made it 3-1 with an RBI bunt single.
The Great Lakes Regional champs didn’t quit, though. Kyle Cotcamp walked to lead off the bottom of the sixth for Hamilton. Brandon Green then walked to put runners on first and second. Anthony Crouch then sacrificed the runners to second and third. After a run scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-2, Falkson struck out the next hitter for the second out of the inning. Due to the new 85-pitch limit, that was Falkson last batter of the game. That brought Adams on in relief with two outs and the tying run on third. Hamilton first baseman John Cornett then launched an Adams pitch to dead center field. Rando settled himself at the center-field fence, timed his jump and hauled in the ball from beyond the fence to save the game.
Hamilton took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Derrick Best walked, went to second on a fielder’s choice, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball.
Falkson went 5.2 innings for the win for Walpole. He struck out nine and walked one. Hamilton starter Kyle Cotcamp worked 5.1 innings, taking the complete-game loss. He struck out nine and walked two.
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