Source: South Williamsport, Pa.
Date/Time: Day, August 17, 8:00pm ET
Solid pitching and clutch hitting allowed Great Lakes champion New Castle, Ind., Little League to shut out Northwest champion Gresham, Ore., Little League, 4-0, Friday evening at Lamade Stadium on the second day of the Little League World Series.
The boys from Great Lakes broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth when they scored four runs off five hits. Cory Murphy ripped a line drive to center field to start the inning. Blake Burris executed a bunt to advance Murphy to second who would then advance to third on a passed ball. Brett Matney then laid down another bunt which put runners on first and third as Mehlhaff did not throw to first. Another passed ball allowed Murphy to score the first run of the game and two singles, a double and a walk allowed three more runs to score for Great Lakes.
Both pitchers dominated to start the game as Great Lakes pitcher Cayden Smekens struck out two while Northwest pitcher Greg Mehlhaff struck out the side.
The boys from Great Lakes got the bat on the ball a lot more in the bottom of the second inning, but did not manage to get anyone past first base. Jarred Porter ripped a line drive to third, but Hunter Hemenway made a phenomenal catch to end the inning.
In the third inning, both sides saw more strikeouts. Northwest’s Devon Bratcher ripped a double with two outs and would advance to third on a wild pitch, but another strike out ended the inning before Bratcher could score. Great Lakes made solid contact in the bottom of the inning but Northwest’s defense was there to make the plays.
Fans were on the edge of their seats in the top of the fourth inning as Great
Lake’s Hunter McCubbins ripped a 2-out double to left center and then made a
risky move as he advanced to third on a blocked ball.
McCubbins made it safely, but the game remained scoreless as Niah Williamson grounded out to first to end the inning before McCubbins could go home.
Northwest battled in the bottom of the sixth but could not string together any hits. Two walks put runners on first and second, but the 2-out rally ended when relief pitcher Bryce Pinkard struck out Tyler Linch to end the game and preserve the shut out.
Mehlhaff collected seven strikeouts over his 4 1/3 innings of work for Northwest, while the Great Lakes pitching staff collected a combined 11 strikeouts and gave up just two hits all night.
Great Lakes will take on Southwest on Sunday at 5 p.m. while Northwest drops to the losers’ bracket and will play Mid-Atlantic on Saturday at 8 p.m. in an elimination game.