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Northwest Wins Their First Game, Defeating Southwest 8-4
By Colin Brown
Game Attendance: 8,700
A hot start out of the gates propelled Eastlake Little League from Sammamish, Wash., to an 8-4 victory over Universal Little League from Corpus Christi, Texas, in the first United States game of the Little League® World Series in Williamsport, Pa., on Thursday.
Northwest jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first inning as they capitalized on mistakes by Southwest. The first two batters, Jack Carper and Dalton Chandler, singled to center field and right field, respectively.
“Getting the first hit really sparks a rally for your team and that just built momentum,” said Carper, who finished 3-for-4 and scored three runs.
Clean-up hitter, Jacob Dahlstrom, hit a ground ball to shortstop Jacob Garza, but a throwing error to second base allowed both Carper and Chandler to score. Three batters later, Nathan Fitzgibbons singled to left field, which scored special pinch runner Jack Rud and Jack Matheson, giving Northwest a 4-0 lead.
“I don’t think they expected us to hit the ball like that and we knew how we could hit,” Northwest manager Rob Chandler said. “When they get off to a start like that, it makes the coaching job easy.”
A three-run third inning brought Southwest back into the game. Southwest’s Brandon DeLeon reached safely on a dropped third strike that scored Juan Sosa from third base. As the ball trickled down the third-base line, Christian Servantes advanced home and DeLeon made his way over to third base. The next batter, Oscar Hernandez, singled to center field, which brought DeLeon across home plate, but Southwest still trailed 5-4.
Northwest put the game out of reach in the sixth inning with a two-out rally. Chandler knocked a triple off of the left-field wall and Carper scored from first base. Will Armbruester pushed the lead to 8-4 with a blooper to shallow right field, which scored special pinch runner Adam Carper.
“That’s small ball that we play and those are big runs for us,” Northwest coach Matt Fitzgibbons said. “Confidence wise, it helps you going in to close the game — that parlays into the closer’s mindset that ‘I’ve got four runs to work with now so I’m going to light this thing up.’”
Northwest picked up an insurance run in the fifth inning. Chandler started the inning with a triple; he’d finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored. Dahlstrom hit a groundball under Sosa’s glove at shortstop, which scored Chandler to increase Northwest’s lead to 6-4.
“They had little blooper hits and you can’t do anything about that,” Southwest manager Randy Ramirez said. “The ball just didn’t go our way.”
Southwest scored their first run in the bottom of the first inning. Leadoff batter Jesus Ortiz singled to left field and scored on a double to center field from Garza. Ortiz was 2-for-3 and scored one run.
Northwest was quick to answer in the second inning when Carper hit a solo homerun just over the center-field wall to push their lead to 5-1.
Southwest plays again on Saturday, Aug. 17 at 3 p.m. With the win for Northwest comes a few days off. They will return to the field on Sunday, Aug. 18 at 2 p.m. As for how the team will spend their down time:
“We’re going to have a great time,” Rob Chandler said. “We love this place!”