Source: South Williamsport, Pa.
Date/Time: Sunday, August 21, 2011, 2:00pm ET
The Billings Big Sky Little League pulled off another upset Sunday at the 2011 Little League Baseball World Series, taking a 3-1 victory over the Southwest regional representatives. The win propels the Northwest champs deeper into the winner's bracket and hands Lafayette Little League its first loss since tournament play started over six weeks ago.
The game remained scoreless until the top of the third when Northwest leftfielder Ben Askelson roped a base-clearing double to give his team an early 2-0 lead.
"During my first at bat, I was anxious and took some bad cuts," he said. "But I tried to stay relaxed and just waited for a fastball."
Askelson's RBIs provided all the run support his pitcher Patrick Zimmer needed. Zimmer continued his methodic, but brilliant performance, holding his opponents to a paltry four hits over five innings. No Southwest base runner even reached third base.
"He just throws strikes and hits his spots," said Northwest manager Gene Carlson. "That's important at this level."
Carlson did not shy away from showing his surprise at his team's successful 2-0 series start.
"Yeah, I'm a little surprised," he admitted. "But we always knew we belonged. These guys can play with anyone."
But despite the optimistic circumstances, Carlson and his team aren't looking too far ahead.
"What's our next goal?" asked third baseman Ian Leatherberry. "To win the next game. We're taking this one pitch at a time."
This same thought rings true for Southwest manager Leland Padgett, too, considering his squad has never been forced to brave post-loss terrain.
"We're not gonna make a big deal out of losing," Padgett said. "The biggest thing for a 12-year-old is to learn how to lose. Winning's too easy."
Lafayette Little League's next game will be an elimination game Monday at 8 p.m. against the hometown Mid-Atlantic team from Keystone Little League. The boys from Billings must wait until Wednesday, where they await the winner of Sunday's matchup between the Great Lakes and the West.