Source: South Williamsport, Pa.
Date/Time: Tuesday, August 23, 2011, 1:00pm ET
Who says a consolation game can’t be exciting?
The champs from New England and Europe sure proved that any game, no matter what the stakes, can be as thrilling as a championship bout at the Little League Baseball World Series, as the Cumberland Little Leaguers walked off with an 8-7 win in the bottom of the sixth in Tuesday’s consolation contest at Howard J. Lamade Stadium.
After giving up a one-run edge in the top of the final frame, the New England All-Stars entered the bottom of the sixth – their last chance to get a win at the 2011 Series – facing a 7-3 deficit with just three outs to make up the difference.
But one thing Cumberland, R.I., isn’t known for is giving up. Conner Mastin started off the drive with a single to left, advancing to second when the ball rolled all the way to the wall and taking third on a wild pitch one batter later. A Max Hanuschak single scored Mastin, closing the gap to just three runs with no one out.
The next two batters loaded the bases for Colin Cannata, who was plunked by Angelo Wicklert to score Hanuschak and move the deficit to 7-5. An error resulting from a mishandled James Belisle ball resulted in two more runs crossing the plate, knotting the game at 7-7 with three outs still to play with and runners on the corners. Cannata, who represented the winning run, waited just 60 feet away as Stephen Dugas stepped to the plate.
And despite making the first out of the inning with a liner to second, when the Netherlands infield tried to pick Belisle off at first getting back to the bag, the throw skirted away, allowing Cannata to trot in and walk away with a huge comeback in one of the most thrilling single innings of the 2011 Little League World Series.
The excitement started in the top of the frame, when Phayson Antonia’s three-run homer gave Europe a four-run cushion just pitches after the Netherlands had come back to take its first lead of the game. Four-straight walks on just 17 pitches tied the game at 3-3 before Wicklert’s sac fly to rightfield scored Diamond Sliberie from third for a 4-3 edge.
New England started the game with a 3-0 lead and held it through the top of the fifth. They took a 3-2 advantage into the sixth inning.
On the day, four Rhode Island hurlers let up just two hits and their lineup knocked out seven hits in the high-scoring affair. Netherlands starter Darryl Jamoena struck out 11 in five innings of work, allowing four hits and three runs, only one of which was earned as the champs of Europe committed five errors on the day. Mastin, the New England starter, let up just a single hit and one run, fanning seven.