SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – After dropping its Little League World Series opener on Thursday, Pacific Little League of Edmonds and Lynnwood had to bounce back with a win on Saturday to keep its title hopes alive.
Colton Walsh helped, homering into left field in the top of the fourth inning to give Pacific a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
The Northwest Region champions defeated Rapid City of South Dakota 7-5 to advance and will play Monday afternoon in an elimination game against the loser of Sunday’s game between Philadelphia and Pearland, Texas.
One more loss would eliminate the Washington team.
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“We’ve been here before,” manager Robley Corsi Jr. said of playing out of the loser’s bracket. “We like to play baseball apparently.”
The game featured four lead changes and a controversial finish.
With two Rapid City base runners on and two outs in the sixth and final inning, South Dakota’s Dylan Richey lined a single to center fielder Tyler Durbin, who made a throw home to catcher Robley Corsi III. When Durbin threw the ball, the runner was rounding third.
“I went to tag him and he was like, on the fence,” Corsi III said. “I couldn’t get to him.”
The base runner, Matthew Hegre, had stumbled and fell, then got up and scrambled well into foul territory. He was called out for leaving the basepath, a call that was challenged but upheld to end the game.
Pacific, playing as the away team, put two runs up in the first inning when Ben Grant drove in Matthew Turcotte and Walsh.
Rapid City struck back in the bottom of the first when shortstop Matthew Hegre hit a home run to right field with two on to give the Midwest region representatives a 3-2 lead.
In the third, Pacific retook the lead when Karsen Tjarneberg hit a hard bouncer past the second baseman to drive in Tygan Duncan and Tyler Durbin .
“We have not been hitting the ball,” Corsi Jr. said. “I went to Karsen before his at bat, and I said ‘Do you want to hit or do you want somebody to hit for you.’ I put some pressure on him.”
“I just did my job and hit it between first and second and scored two runs,” Tjarneberg said.
Rapid City responded with a two-run double in the bottom of that inning to take a 5-4 lead.
Needing more runs, Corsi Jr. resorted to bribery.
After Corsi III singled to open the fourth, Corsi Jr. told Walsh he would give him an ESPN pin if he hit the ball.
Pacific’s No. 2 hitter responded with a towering blast into the crowd sitting on the left-field hill.
“I’m willing to give them money at this point,” Corsi Jr. said.
Pacific tacked on its final run in the fifth when Ian Michael singled in Tjarneberg.
Tjarneberg, who came on in the third to pitch in relief, pitched two scoreless innings down the stretch.
Now, Pacific is moving on.
“We still have a lot of pitching depth,” Corsi Jr. said. “Hopefully, this one will get us rolling.”