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Another late-game rally was brewing at Howard J. Lamade Stadium in South Williamsport, Pa., on Monday night, but Eastlake Little League of Sammamish, Wash., held on in the final inning to defeat Urbandale (Iowa) Little League, 6-5.
With 11,437 fans on hand to see an exciting three-run comeback in the final inning, the Midwest Region Champion’s two-out rally fell just short.
Brook Heinen cranked a double to left-center field, which scored Carter Troncin and Sam Young and brought the score to 6-4. A throw over the catcher’s head moved Heinen to third base and a passed ball allowed him to score and bring Midwest within one run of Northwest.
“Trying to keep the boys positive and remind them that we’ve come back from down four before,” Midwest manager Robert Ball said. “They made a valiant effort and I couldn’t be more proud.”
“We were under a little bit of stress, but we were fine,” Northwest manager Rob Chandler said. “We were trying to get outs and (Midwest) hit the ball pretty hard at the end.”
But Northwest pitcher Will Armbruester came through with a strikeout; the final out of the game. Armbruester relieved Dalton Chandler who threw 3.2 innings, struck out three batters and allowed one run on two hits.
“I love it—I like the pressure,” Chandler said when asked about having the ball in his hands for the majority of the game. “I just knew I needed to throw strikes, get ground balls, get pop flies, and be as efficient as I can.”
Northwest padded their lead with two insurance runs in the sixth inning, and they would need them both. Carper started the inning by beating out a single to the shortstop and scored on a single to center field by Jacob Dahlstrom. Dahlstrom finished the game four-for-four with two RBI.
Next batter, Jack Rud, hit a hard ground ball to third base, but the throw to second base was dropped and Adam Carper was able to score from third. That gave Northwest a 6-2 lead with three outs left to play.
Like their first game of this World Series against Southwest, the Northwest Region team was off to a hot start in the first inning. Chandler doubled deep to the warning track in center field, which scored Jack Carper for the first run of the game. Chandler scored two batters later when Dahlstrom singled to center field.
Northwest added two more runs in the top of the third inning to push their lead to 4-1. Bryce Delay and Nathan Fitzgibbons scored on a Dylan Matsuoka single to left-center field.
“It helps the team by putting us in the lead,” Matsuoka said. “It helps me with my confidence that I got a solid base hit.”
Midwest scored their first run in the second inning to cut the Northwest lead in half. Young singled to right field and Joshua Neyens scored from third base. They added their second run in the fourth inning when Brenden Ball grounded out to first base and Lucas Strain beat the throw to home plate.
Midwest threatened in the bottom of the fifth inning when Strain was hit by a pitch to load the bases. But Chandler pitched his way out of the jam and forced Brady Roberts into a fielder’s choice ground ball to end the inning and preserve a 4-2 lead.
With the win, Northwest advances to play Southeast on Tuesday at 8 p.m.