WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Eastlake’s first action at the Little League World Series went just about how left fielder Jack Carper envisioned, even though it’s rarely as easy as Eastlake made it look.
Eastlake, from Sammamish, scored four times in the top of the first inning to take the lead for good in an 8-4 victory over Corpus Christi, Texas, Thursday afternoon at Lamade Stadium.
Carper had a huge part in that inning, as his leadoff single led to his team’s first run on an infield grounder. Dalton Chandler followed Carper with a single, a run scored on an error, and later Nathan Fitzgibbons singled home Jacob Dahlstrom and Jack Matheson.
Just like that it was 4-0, Eastlake, and the Northwest Region champions were on their way.
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Up next is Westport, Conn., on Sunday at 11 a.m. PDT at Lamade Stadium.
“It was good, because we’re bringing momentum from regionals to Williamsport,” Carper said. “The exact same way, great offense and great pitching.”
Dahlstrom shut down Corpus Christi, the Southwest representative, for 22
3 innings before leaving at 53 pitches in a planned move to keep him eligible for Sunday.
Dahlstrom left two runners on base, and both scored, on a wild pitch and error. But Dalton Chandler settled down and struck out Juan Jasso to end the third inning with a 5-4 Eastlake lead after a three-run Corpus Christi inning.
Corpus Christi reliever Jacob Garza kept his team in the game, allowing just one unearned run in 22
3 innings of relief. He left after 50 pitches trailing 6-4.
“That guy threw gas,” said Eastlake manager Rob Chandler. “We saw him on the regionals coverage, a great curve and fastball. That’s a really good team, and I bet they explode for 12-15 runs the next game. They’re tough.”
Carper and Dalton Chandler finished 3 for 4 with three runs scored. Chandler added a solo home run in the fifth, and doubled home Carper as part of a two-run sixth.
That was plenty of cushion for Jack Matheson, who pitched two scoreless innings to earn a save. Will Armbruester also pitched a scoreless inning of relief. All the Eastlake pitchers who threw Thursday are eligible for the next game.
Eastlake has two days to enjoy the victory. Rob Chandler and assistant Matt Fitzgibbons said the players will spend it swimming and eating ice cream when they’re not practicing.
Sunday’s game was also too far ahead to plan on a starting pitcher, though Fitzgibbons told reporters that it could be anyone, even joking about someone named “Johnny Wholestaff.”
A reporter didn’t see that name on Eastlake’s roster, so he asked for a spelling.
“Sure. W, H, O, L …” said Fitzgibbons, before the whole interview room broke out laughing.