Strikeout record and bases-loaded game-winning hit at Little League WS
By Genaro C. Armas
The Associated Press
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Kalen is most definitely spelled with a “K.”
Kalen Pimentel tied a Little League World Series record for a regulation, six-inning game with 18 strikeouts to lead Rancho Bueno Vista of Vista, Calif., to a 7-2 victory over Owensboro (Ky.) Southern in the Little League World Series on Saturday.
“It took me a couple of innings to get adjusted and I started to get in a groove about the fourth inning,” Pimentel said. “My fastball and curve were really working well.”
The feat was last accomplished in 1979 by Chao-An Chen of the Pu-Tzu Town team from Taiwan.
Pimentel’s pitching highlighted the busiest day Saturday of the 10-day tournament – six games in two stadiums all scheduled to start within a nine-hour span.
In other early games, Chiba City, Japan, shut out Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, 3-0; and Lafayette, La., rallied to beat Westbrook, Maine, 3-2.
Connor Toups provided the big hit for Lafayette, singling to left past a drawn-in infield scored two runs to rally Lafayette past Westbrook. After the game, Toups didn’t say much – he’s only 11, after all – but he did smile a lot.
“I went up there looking to get a hit. He threw me a fastball,” said Toups, who at 4-foot-10 and 78 pounds is one of the smallest boys on Lafayette (1-0), the Southwest region champs. “It felt good.”
Westbrook starter Ryan Murphy held Lafayette scoreless until the sixth, the final inning in Little League, when Murphy failed to retire a batter. On Toups’ winning hit, Jace Conrad raced around from second base and pumped his fist after sliding home.
Nick Finocchiaro and Michael Mowatt homered for Westbrook (0-1), the New England champion.
Both teams played great defense. In the first inning, with a runner on first, Lafayette second baseman Brenn Conrad turned a double play by grabbing a relay toss barehanded, stepping on second and then throwing to first for the second out.
“It was like if we don’t hit it over the fence they were going to make the play,” Westbrook manager Richard Knight said.
Japan 3, Saudi Arabia 0
Takuya Sakamoto threw a two-hitter and started a decisive three-run third inning with a double. Sakamoto struck out 11 in going all the way for Chiba City (1-0), the Asia region champion. Alexander Robinett struck out six and allowed six hits for Dhahran (0-1), the Transatlantic champion.