The all-star team from the Westport Little League of Westport, Conn., which lost to Eastlake, 6-3, in nine innings Wednesday, will face the all-star team from the Eastlake Little League of Sammamish, Wash., Thursday in South Williamsport, Pa., with the winner advancing to Saturday's U.S. Championship Game.
Eastlake scored twice in the top of the sixth inning to tie the score and force extra innings, and Grant Holman hit a tie-breaking three-run home run in the ninth to give Eastlake its third victory in three World Series games and 21st in 22 games in its five tournaments.
Nick Mora began Eastlake's sixth-inning comeback by hitting a 2-2 pitch from Harry Azadian over the center field fence, cutting Westport's lead to 3-2. Mora's fourth-inning home run accounted for Eastlake's first run
Max Popken relieved Azadian and walked the first batter he faced, Giancarlo Cortez. Michael Gaines, a special pinch runner for Cortez, advanced to second when Popken walked Rennard Williams, went to third on Popken's wild pitch and scored on a passed ball by Mat Stone, the Westport catcher.
Eastlake, batting as the visiting team, threatened to take the lead in the top of the eighth, as Cortez led off with a double and advanced to third on Williams' ground out. However, Charly Peterson and Gaines both grounded out, stranding Cortez on third.
Holman was 0-for-four before the home run, striking out in each of his first three at-bats.
Westport took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth on Matt Brown's three-run home run.
Holman pitched for the first time since pitching a seven-inning no-hitter in Eastlake's World Series opener Friday. He retired the first eight batters he faced before walking Drew Rogers, the No. 9 hitter in Westport's lineup.
Holman held Westport hitless until Azadian's one-out single in the fourth. Brown homered one out later, prompting Eastlake manager Rick Tibbett to call in Cortez to pitch.
Of the 11 outs Holman recorded, 10 were by strikeout.
Westport loaded the bases against Cortez on back-to-back singles by Ricky Offenberg and Charlie Roof and a walk to Rogers. Cortez struck out the next batter to end the inning.
Ricky Tibbett, Rick Tibbett's son, pitched 2 2/3 innings of hitless relief, striking out five. Williams pitched the final 2 1/3 innings, allowing one hit and was credited with the victory.
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SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) — Grant Holman hit a three-run homer in the top of the ninth and Chula Vista, Calif., rallied for a 6-3 victory over New England champion Westport, Conn., on Wednesday night to earn a berth in the U.S. championship game at the Little League World Series.
Micah Pietila-Wiggs laced a one-out single to left, his third hit of the game, to start the ninth and Jake Espinoza followed with a double to right-center before Holman connected off reliever Alex Reiner.
Matt Brown hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth for Connecticut, and the Northeast champions seemed headed for a big victory.
But California shortstop Nick Mora hit his second homer of the game to make it 3-2 with one out in the top of the sixth and Chula Vista tied it when Reiner threw a wild pitch with the bases loaded.
Holman pitched 3 2-3 strong innings. Chasing his second no-hitter of the World Series, Holman struck out nine and was cruising when Max Popken drew a leadoff walk to start the fourth. Harry Azadian broke up Holman's no-hit bid with a single to right field and Brown homered.
Westport plays Northwest champion Sammamish, Wash., on Thursday. Sammamish (3-1) moved on to the matchup in the U.S. bracket by eliminating Nashville, Tenn., 6-5 on Tuesday. Westport was coming off a 9-7 victory over Sammamish on Sunday.