Chula Vista’s Eastlake All-Stars will now advance to the U.S. Championship game in Little League World Series competition play thanks to a big win Wednesday night.
The Eastlake All-Stars won 6-3 against Westport, Conn., in a semifinal game televised on ESPN.
“With our team, it’s never over,” Eastlake pitcher Grant Holman told ESPN following Wednesday’s victory. “We’re never going to stop.”
“I had a slow start at the plate two games in a row and I came through in the clutch,” Holman explained.
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.
Fans in San Diego are certainly rooting for the home team.
Signs have popped up all over Eastlake as businesses rally behind the team that traveled to San Bernardino to win the West Regional tournament and qualified them for the Little League World Series.
The Eastlake Little League is selling West Regional hats, T-shirts and other gear to help raise money for the team’s travel to the World Series.
The Eastlake All-Stars will step up to the plate again Saturday at 12:30 p.m. PT for the U.S. Championship game.
NBC 7 San Diego/ The Associated Press