Source: South Williamsport, Pa.
Date/Time: Day, August 20, 4:00 ET
A day after Japan champions Tokyo, Japan, Little League beat the Asia-Pacific champions from Taoyuan, Chinese Taipei, Little League on a walk off, West champions Petaluma, Calif., Little League did the same.
The West would overcome a 4-3 deficit against Mid-Atlantic champions Parsippany, N.J., Little League to avoid elimination, winning 5-4, in 8 innings.
With the score tied 4-4 going into the bottom of the eighth inning, and the West up to bat, the game was set up for a grand finale. On the very first batter, Danny Marzo hit a solo home run to end the game and give the West the victory.
When Marzo went up to bat, he said he wasn’t thinking walk-off home run.
“You have to be thinking a base hit,” he said.
Marzo said walk-off home runs come as a result of looking for base hits. One teammate who had no doubt it was going to be a home run when the ball left Marzo’s bat was Hance Smith. He said he immediately started to run out of the dugout to celebrate because he knew right away the ball was gone.
The Mid-Atlantic champions would strike first, scoring one run in the second on an error by the West’s catcher and one more in the fourth on a solo home run by Anthony Scannelli. However, the West took a 1-run lead when they came up to bat in the bottom half of the inning, highlighted by an RBI single to left field courtesy of Hance Smith, bringing two runners home on the play.
“You’re not going to shut these teams down for six innings,” Mid-Atlantic manager Mike Ruggiero said. “The whole Mid-Atlantic was behind us and that was great."
In the top of the sixth, the Mid-Atlantic champions managed to tie the game, 4-4, prompting West manager Eric Smith to bring in pitcher Logan Douglas in relief for Bradley Smith.
“I was a little nervous,” Douglas said.
He said he kept telling himself to just throw strikes, because he knew he had a really good defense behind him, and did just that as he shut down the Mid-Atlantic champion’s offense until Marzo’s home run in the eighth that ended the game.
The West advance to play Monday's New England/Great Lakes winner at 8 p.m. on Tuesday at Lamade Stadium. The loss eliminates Mid-Atlantic from the tournament.