Source: South Williamsport, Pa.
Date/Time: Sunday, August 21, 2011, 6:00pm ET
It took only four innings for the Little Leaguers from Huntington Beach, Calif., to dismantle their opponents from La Grange, Ky. After batting around twice — in the second and fourth innings — the West region champions defeated Great Lakes, 10-0.
So far at the 2011 Little League Baseball World Series, the West has compiled an impressive collection of both offensive and defensive numbers. In two games, it has allowed zero runs and just five hits while blasting 21 runs and 23 hits of its own.
"Our hitting is contagious," said West manager Jeff Pratto. "We usually score runs in bunches."
Pratto's team definitely caught the bug Sunday afternoon.
After stranding two runners in a scoreless first, the Ocean View Little Leaguers batted around in the second, plating five runners on five hits.
Two innings later, in the top of the fourth, the West accomplished the same feat to score another five runs. This time, however, the Ocean View All-Stars only needed four hits due to a series of Great Lakes errors.
"We had some errors that really cost us," said Great Lakes manager Brad Bates. "But I knew they were a team of line drive hitters, and they kept putting the ball in the gaps. They played a great game."
Despite an erratic first inning — when he walked two — West starting pitcher Hagen Danner settled down and used the cushion his team gave him as incentive to relax. As a result, he pitched a nearly flawless game, surrendering only two hits while striking out five in three innings.
"My job is definitely a lot easier knowing how well we can hit," Danner said.
The Great Lakes champs hoped to carry their momentum from a dramatic win Friday night against the Mid-Atlantic hometown favorites. Instead, they now sit one loss away from elimination.
"The teams that get here aren't used to losing, so they definitely don't like it," Bates said. "But we're at the Little League World Series — let's keep it in perspective."
The West region champions face the Northwest region champs from Billings, Mont., Wednesday night at 8 p.m. for a spot in the United States championship game. Great Lakes takes on the Southeast squad Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. in an elimination game.