Source: South Williamsport, Pa.
Date/Time: Saturay, August 25, 3:30pm ET
Southeast manager Joey Hale described his time spent in South Williamsport at this year’s Little League World Series as "Christmas on steroids."
Well, fans looking for a slugfest could have used that description to describe the win his team had over the West champs from Petaluma, Calif., Little League in the United States Championship game. The two offenses lit the scoreboard up, as the Southeast came out on top, 24-16, in 7 innings.
“We just went through a roller coaster,” Hale said.
The final score was astonishing enough with a combined 40 runs, but more so was the West’s comeback from 10 runs down in the sixth inning. Down 15-5, the West amazed everyone in the stadium, mounting the type of comeback that you rarely see. The West started the inning putting the first six batters on base, scoring four runs in the process, and cutting the Southeast’s lead to six.
When the Southeast did record their second out, moving them one out closer to the Little League World Series title game, the West refused to give up. Bradley Smith kept the West alive in the inning, stroking a double and scoring a run on the play, cutting the lead to three.
Kempton Brandis got in on the fun as well for the West, bringing Smith home with a 2-run home run, and cutting the lead to one, leaving it all up to Hance Smith. With the count 1-1, Smith completed the astounding comeback that will probably still have people buzzing for a few days, hitting a solo home run and sending the game into extra innings, and his team into hysterics in the dugout.
Despite giving up 10 runs, the Southeast came back strong the next inning, scoring nine runs, with the top of the order doing all of the damage. In the bottom half of the inning, the Southeast only allowed one run, which earned them the title of United States champions.
Even though they lost, West manager Eric Smith said he was proud of his team.
“It was a good effort,” he said.
When asked what his message to the team will be following the loss, he said “the message will be you never gave up.”
While the West’s tournament run is finished, the Southeast gets ready to play Japan champions from Tokyo, Japan, Little League tomorrow in the Little League World Series title game.
“They worked all winter long to get to this point,” Hale said.
The Southeast and Japan will play each other on Sunday at 3 p.m. at Lamade Stadium for the chance to call themselves Little League World Series champions.