Southwest defeats Northwest, 8-2, to earn a spot in Saturday’s U.S.
By Allie Weinberger
Everything’s bigger in Texas.
While the Lubbock Western Little Leaguers aren’t currently in Texas,
they’ve brought their state motto with them to South Williamsport in
the form of big bats, big-time pitching and some big scores.
And when the Texas bats heated up in the third and sixth innings
Thursday afternoon against the Oregon, ace pitcher Garrett Williams
had all he needed to throw 4.2 innings of two-hit relief en route to
an 8-2 win.
The victory, which came in front of 11,200 at Howard J. Lamade
Stadium, vaults the Southwest champs into Saturday’s United States
“The kid who came in and closed the game, starting from the second
inning, we knew he’s a great pitcher and we thought it’d be tough to
get a lot of runs off him,” said Oregon manager Craig Ramey.
“They’re just a well-rounded team, great pitching, strong on the
field, an all-the-way-around good team.”
But it was Lake Oswego that took the early advantage in the second
when a two-run single from pinch hitter Calvin Hermanson skipped
under second baseman Stephen Smith’s glove. The 2-0 lead wouldn’t
“We felt if we could score first and put some pressure on them, we’d
have a good shot to keep it going,” said Ramey. “To their credit,
they bounced back and got some runs of their own, but that hit by
Calvin was huge.”
Despite seeing their first seven batters retired in order, the
Southwest All-Stars started a one-out rally in the third, ignited by
their first hit of the game.
That hit came off the bat of Jay Pendergrass, when the slugger laced
an 0-2 offering over the head of the Oregon left fielder.
Pendergrass came around to score two batters later on a fielder’s
choice grounder, cutting Oregon’s lead in half, 2-1.
The inning continued with a single from Williams that put runners on
the corners for top-slugger Bryndan Arredondo. And with one mighty
swing, Arredondo wiped the bases clean with a three-run shot that
cleared the 225-foot fence and the hedge behind it, erasing his
club’s deficit in favor of a 4-2 lead.
“‘Oh it’s gone,’” manager Ed Thorne recalled saying as his slugger
ran toward first. “I love coaching first base. To see some of those
things launched – I know they’re gone. It’s a great view.”
Arredondo entered Thursday’s semifinal hitting at a .667 clip, and
went 1-for-4 with three RBI in the game.
A single from Bo Ricks, coupled with a passed ball and wild pitch,
drove in another run for Lubbock Western Little League in the top of
the fourth, making it 5-2. Meanwhile, the Lubbock ace made easy work
of his opponent – three up, three down – in the third and fourth.
“I just had to focus a little more and put the ball in the strike
zone. And they couldn’t hit it,” said Williams. “I expect to
dominate, but sometimes I’m on and sometimes I’m off.”
The champs from the Southwest added a trio of extra runs for good
measure in the top of the sixth, compliments of Taylor Bridges’s
three-run homer to left.
And while Southwest starter Taylor Bridges did his part for the
first five outs, it was the switch to Williams with runners in
scoring position in the bottom of the second that was the turning
point in Texas’s success.
“It wasn’t that Bridges was doing a bad job at all,” said Thorne.
“Those guys [Oregon] came out. So I knew we were gonna get in a
smoke fight, and I knew we had the best smoke.”
“I’m sure they looked at it and said, ‘You know what? We’ve got
[Oregon] guys on second and third, nobody out,’” said Ramey. “I
think he looked at it and said, ‘We gotta throw our best out here to
see if we can get to the next game.’ I thought it was a great move
on his part.”
Lubbock Western Little League must wait for the results of tonight’s
battle between Georgia and Arizona to see who it will face in
Saturday’s clash to represent the U.S. in the World Series
But Texas won’t have access to Williams until Sunday, if they make
it through, due to the mandatory rest allotted in the newly instated
“We like our chances,” said Thorne. “We still have almost all of our
Williams’s stellar performance Thursday afternoon followed his
previous near-perfect performance Saturday, when all 17 outs he
recorded were by strikeout in his 5.2 innings of work.
Turns out the only thing that can stop Williams is his pitch count.
© 2007, Little League Baseball
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