SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — The dream of winning a Little League World Series ended for the Pacific All-Stars of Edmonds and Lynnwood on Monday afternoon.
Pearland, Texas beat Pacific, 11-4, in an elimination game the Northwest Region champions had made close only to see Pearland pull away in the final inning.
Pacific took some time to warm up in the batter’s box against left-handed Texas starter Landon Donley, who was throwing a variety of pitches to keep the team off balance.
“We were trying to emulate (Donley) in practice,” Pacific manager Robley Corsi Jr. said after the game. “When you haven’t seen someone who’s dinking and dunking, it’s tough to do.”
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Pacific spotted Pearland a 5-0 lead. Texas put one run on the board in the first and added three more in the third when third baseman Layne Roblyer hit one out with two men on who reached via walk and getting hit by a pitch. During the top of the fourth, a walk and two singles loaded the bases for Texas, and one runner scored on a passed ball before Ian Michael struck out two straight batters to end the threat.
After getting one baserunner on in the first three innings, Pacific’s offense woke up to close the gap in the home fourth.
Colton Walsh led off the inning with a double, then was driven home by a Tyler Durbin double. After Durbin went to third on a wild pitch, Tygan Duncan knocked him in with a single past the second baseman into right field.
After pinch-runner Mason Vaughn took second base on a passed ball, Karsen Tjarneberg hit another double into right field to make it 5-3. That caused Texas manager Don Smith to bring in reliever Brandon Sliwinski, who struck out three straight Pacific batters to end the rally.
Pearland struck back with a run in the fifth to make it 6-3; Pacific got the run back in the bottom of the fifth. Nate King led the inning off with a walk, and Corsi Jr. inserted Vaughn to run for King; Durbin drove in another run with a single, his second run-scoring hit of the game.
Pacific’s hopes slid away in the top of the sixth. Pearland put five runs on the board despite only getting one hit. Five walks, two wild pitches and two passed balls were responsible for padding Pearland’s lead.
“Chalk it up to one of those days,” Corsi Jr. said. “I think we had six walks, two hit-by-pitches. If my guys hit their spots, that’s a different game.”
The Pacific players were ready to play more baseball as soon as their Little League season ended.
“I had two of them say to me, ‘Are we all going to play soon?’ ” Corsi said. “ ‘Are we going to do some kind of travel team?’ I don’t want to think about baseball. Let’s go swimming.”
The team’s mindset was just fine moments after their elimination.
“They’re no different than the game before when we won,” Corsi said. “Nobody likes to lose. Nobody’s crying.”
Corsi is curious what sort of reception awaits the Pacific All-Stars when they return home after the World Series is over.
“I keep getting messages from here, there and everywhere that there’s a lot of stuff going on,” Corsi said. “I think people are going to know my name.”