Cancel Preloader

Little League World Series: El Segundo edges Washington, reaches U.S. title game

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — The El Segundo All-Stars reached the United States championship game, relying on their pitching depth and determination in a 2-1 victory over the Northwest region champs on Thursday night at the Little League World Series.

Declan McRoberts pitched four innings, allowing a single run while striking out five, and Brody Brooks finished the game with two scoreless innings, striking out three.

El Segundo will get a rematch with the Southwest champs from Needville, Texas, on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. PT to determine which team will play for the Little League World Series Championship Sunday against the International bracket champ. Texas beat El Segundo, 3-1, in its second game of the 20-team tournament.

Nothing comes easy at the Little League World Series and the Northwest representatives from Seattle made El Segundo work for its victory Thursday.

McRoberts worked out of a couple of jams to hold Seattle to a single run. Brody Brooks, who asked El Segundo manager Danny Boehle for the ball, entered in the fifth inning with runners on first and second. Brooks got the first out at third on a bunt back to the pitcher and a nice throw to cut down the lead runner. He induced a pair of ground balls to end the inning. He struck out three batters in the sixth, but Northwest ended the game with the bases loaded.

“I felt like everybody was stressing too much,” Brooks said. “I had confidence in my defense that they were going to make a play. I had confidence I was better than the hitter and I could strike him out.”

In the sixth, Northwest loaded the bases with a hit batter, a walk and a dropped third strike before Brooks got a ground out to end the game.

“It’s never easy with these boys,” El Segundo manager Danny Boehle said. “I have all the faith in the world in them. We work hard every day. We worked hard to get here. A win is a win and we learn from stuff like that.”

El Segundo got off to another strong start as Brooks opened the third straight game with a leadoff single. Jaxon Kalish singled and later scored on a McRoberts single to give El Segundo a 1-0 lead, but El Segundo had one runner thrown out at the plate and left the bases loaded.

In the second inning, El Segundo’s Quinn Boehle recorded his first hit of the series to lead off. One out later, he advanced to second on a passed ball and then scored on a Finley Green single, his first hit of the series.

“Quinn and Finley Green both got their first hit today and they were huge,” Boehle said. “Finley knocks in Quinn. Both those kids were due. The confidence they have now is they know they can do it. They know they can be there.”

“It’s all emotion,” Danny Boehle said, of watching his son come through in a big game. “To me, Little League is about the last time you can coach your son. To be here and have your son playing and all my adopted sons next to me, it truly is a blessing. It’s an honor and privilege to coach these gentlemen.”

El Segundo had eight hits in the game, including a third-inning double by Brooks, but Northwest was solid and kept wiggling out of trouble.

“We’ve been through battles and battles with tons of teams from California through districts, sectionals, and states,” Boehle said. “It gives us an advantage to be in a situation like that. Whether we are up one or down one, they can come back and battle and win. They’ve done it. It shows you the kids can grind.”

At the postgame press conference, McRoberts wore an army helmet and talked about his pitching performance.

“I felt good,” McRoberts said. “I just trusted my defense and threw a lot of strikes.”

McRoberts explained the helmet, saying it was the team’s home run helmet, but since no home runs were hit Thursday, they gave it to him for an outstanding pitcher performance.

“You pitched a great game, kid,” Boehle said at the press conference. “You deserve that helmet.”

If El Segundo gets past Texas on Saturday, it will face either the Asia Pacific champion (Taiwan) or the Caribbean champion (Willemstad, Curacao), who square off Saturday for the International championship. Taiwan features star pitcher Fan Chen-Jun, who throws 80 mph.


Related post