2011 Little League Baseball World Series
Williamsport, Pennsylvania - August 18 - 28

Game 11: MEA 4 vs. Europe 2

Middle East and Africa Hangs In, by Doubling Up Europe

Author: Ryan Lewis

Source: South Williamsport, Pa.

Date/Time: Saturday, August 21, 2011, 6:00pm ET

The Middle East and Africa Region Champion knocked the Europe Region Champs out World Series Champion contention with a 4-2 win led by versatile Dylan Ell and Gustavo Leon’s 84-pitch outing.

“This was certainly a game won collectively,” Manager Donnie Sumner said. “Everybody came out, played their hearts out and got the win.”

Ell, who led the offense by going 3-for-4 with a triple and RBI, wound up playing four different positions in the game (center field, left field, pitcher and shortstop).

“I play most positions…I’m comfortable with anything,” Ell said. “I can handle it.”

On the mound, Ell threw one-plus innings in a relief, allowing three hits, but no runs and struck out one.

The Netherlands came into the game looking to go deep into counts, which forced starting pitcher Gustavo Leon to battle each hitter.

Leon lasted four innings, gave up two earned runs on five hits and struck out six.

Ell then took over for him, but leading 4-2 with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning and two runners in scoring position, Sumner turned to pitcher Tyler Wilkins to save the game.

“I could see in [Ell’s] body language he was uncomfortable,” Sumner said. “I felt like it was the right move. I’ve got total confidence in Tyler.”

With the tying run on second and the winning run at the plate, Wilkins slammed the door on the Netherlands and struck out both the hitters he faced.

“I usually come in to start, but I came in at a very hard time and my team needed me,” Wilkins said. “I was really nervous.”

Ell drove in a run on a groundout in the first inning, and a second run scored a few pitches later on a wild pitch.

Ell led off the third with a triple and was brought home on Tanner Beachy’s single up the middle.

In the bottom of the third, the Netherlands took a chunk out of their deficit on Marijn Jelsma’s two-RBI double down the left field line.

Down by one, and later two runs, after Hadi Fadlallah was walked with the bases loaded, Netherlands manager Jeroen Sluijter always thought his team was right on their heels.

“I still had a feeling we were going to win,” Sluijter said. “We just needed one break. We had the right guys at the plate at the right time.”

Sluijter also credited nerves with the slow day at the plate.

“We tried to get them loose but they still, at those moments, grip the bat too tight,” he said. “Tension got to them.”