WESTPORT, Conn. – California scored two runs in the sixth to force extra innings and added three in the ninth to defeat Westport, 6-3, in the Little League World Series Wednesday in Williamsport, Pa.
Westport falls into the losers’ bracket, where it will play Sammamish, Wash., on Thursday night at 8 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2. Thursday’s winner advances to the United States championship game on Saturday against California.
Westport was three outs away from advancing to the championship game. Matt Brown’s three-run home in the fourth staked Westport to the lead after the team from Chula Vista, Calif., scored a run in the top of the inning.
In the sixth, Nick Mora’s second home run of the game closed the deficit to 3-2. California loaded the bases on three consecutive walks, and Michael Gaines scored the tying run on a passed ball. Pitcher Alex Reiner wiggled out of the jam without allowing the go-ahead run to cross.
In the ninth, California had consecutive one-out hits before Grant Holman blasted a three-run homer. Charlie Roof singled with one out in the ninth for Westport, but a double play ended Westport’s final threat.
Chad Knight started for Westport and allowed one run in 4 1/3 innings. Harry Azadian followed and pitched one inning, but was removed by manager Tim Rogers, who wanted to have him available for Thursday. Reiner took the loss, but pitched well before California erupted in the ninth.
Westport had just five hits and struck out 17 against the hard-throwing California pitchers. Roof had two of Westport's hits.
Westport won 20 straight games this summer before Thursday’s loss. Now, the team has to regroup quickly to meet a solid Washington team. Westport beat Washington on Sunday, 9-7.
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