Northwest champs from Lake Oswego, Oregon advance out
of Pool A with a 6-1 win over West Side Little League
By Allie Weinberger
Will there be a tomorrow?
That was the question on the minds of 24 Little Leaguers from Lake
Oswego, Ore. and Hamilton, Ohio as they prepared to do battle Monday
morning in one of two win-and-you’re-in games in Pool A.
The angst had to wait a day, thanks to the rain, and Tuesday
couldn’t come soon enough for the Northwest champs, who defeated
their Great Lakes rivals, 6-1, in front of 3,400 at Volunteer
Stadium Tuesday afternoon to advance to a United States semi-final
Entering Tuesday’s matchups, all four teams in Pool A – Oregon,
Ohio, Massachusetts and Georgia – all had identical 1-1 records. But
by day’s end, four would become two, and two teams will be the odd
“We’ve always played well in those [high-pressure, single
elimination] games, so to be in this position is really truly
amazing,” said Northwest manager Craig Ramey. “These kids have
played really well in these situations, so hopefully we’ll keep it
In reality, all the Northwest champs needed to secure a spot in the
next round was the bottom of the first inning.
Second baseman Austin Andrews got the scoring going from the leadoff
spot, taking a 3-2 fastball from Ohio’s Kyle Cotcamp yard, easily
clearing the 225-foot right field fence.
“I was just looking for a base hit,” said Andrews. “I just saw a
pitch I liked and just drove it out of the park.”
“I certainly was hoping for a base hit out of him or to get on
base,” said Ramey. “The home run was just a huge bonus for us and
really got us going right away, which was just great to see.”
Third baseman Duncan Campbell followed suit with a single that
slipped through the right side of the infield. Two batters later,
catcher Brennan Malagamba sent a double over the head of a right
fielder Cody Lehman that fell onto the warning track, allowing
Campbell to take home on the throw to second.
A wild pitch sent Malagamba to third, while a two-out walk to
Harrison Ramey put runners on the corners for Michael Gallagher
before Cotcamp worked himself out of the jam, striking Gallagher out
“I don’t think we felt any added pressure [coming into the game],”
said Ohio manager Tim Nichting. “But I will say once Oregon scored,
I think kids started getting down.”
But the West Side Little Leaguers came back quickly in the top of
the second, when a single into shallow left by John Cornett sent
speedy catcher Brandon Green around to score from first and shorten
the gap, 2-1.
After two quick outs in the bottom of the second, Cotcamp got into a
jam walking Andrews and giving up a sharply hit double up the middle
off the bat of Campbell. But with two in scoring position, the Great
Lakes hurler avoided any further damage, getting bigman Mitch Lomax
to chase up high for the final out, preserving just a one-run
“They only got it 2-1,” said Nichting. “We just couldn’t get that
big hit when we needed it.”
But in the bottom of the fourth, the Northwest champions did.
Oregon’s Michael Weiss led off the inning, lining a Cotcamp offering
back up the middle just over the outstretched glove of 5-foot-11
shortstop Tyler Richards, making himself an immediate scoring
threat. A bobble in center field allowed Weiss to take second and an
error at third put pitcher Levi Rudolph on and runners at the
Two batters later, Andrews dropped an RBI single onto the right
field warning track to up the score to 3-1.
And after 73 pitches, with runners on the corners, Cotcamp handed
the ball off to reliever Cornett. The fresh arm allowed the Great
Lakes to get three straight and retire the side, but not before a
sacrifice pop from Lomax scored the fourth run from the corner for a
“We just haven’t hit the ball that well,” said Ramey, whose squad
had gone 11-for-51 with just five runs in its previous two LLWS
games. “We felt like today we could come out and hit the ball like
we know we can.”
A line drive into centerfield off the bat of Richards in the fifth
would be Rudolph’s last batter, thanks to the new 85-pitch limit,
and with two outs he passed the job off to 6-foot-1 lefty Calvin
Hermanson. Hermanson got the Northwest champs out of the inning
The boys from the Great Lakes weren’t so lucky in the bottom of the
fifth. Cornett handed Ramey his second walk of the day before giving
Hermanson the ammo for an RBI double that dropped in just before the
warning track. Left fielder Derrick Best picked it up and hit the
cutoff man, but the throw home was just high, preventing Green from
putting the tag on Ramey at home.
The Northwest’s eighth hit of the game drove the score to 5-1.
Weiss’s single up the middle was followed up by Rudolph’s bunt
single down the first baseline that scored Hermanson. Weiss got 60
feet closer on a wild pitch during the next at-bat, and the Great
Lakes champs ceded second to Rudolph on defensive indifference the
With runners on first and second and two out, T.J. Nichting took
over on the mound for a struggling Jake Hyde, inheriting a 2-2 count
before punching out Andrews and getting Campbell to pop out to
But the damage was done. The Northwest was three short outs from a
6-1 victory – outs Hermanson got by downing side in order to end
game. The closer got the save and retired all four batters he faced.
“He’s kinda fallen into that closer roll,” Ramey said of Hermanson.
“It takes a while to find who is gonna step up and play some of
these big roles. He really has a calm demeanor, he does really well
in pressure situations, he’s a big lefty, got a good curveball – so
he’s really somebody we look to now to close out a game.”
“They came out aggressive in the first inning or two and we didn’t
come out as aggressive and we needed to, or hit the ball the way we
needed to,” said Nichting. “Bottom line is: we had two hits, they
had 10. That pretty much tells you who won. We had to hit, and we
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