CHULA VISTA, Calif. - The Eastlake Little League All-Stars from Chula Vista will learn Thursday who they'll face in Saturday's U.S. Championship Game in the Little League World Series.
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., today 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.
10News Special Coverage:
- Eastlake All-Stars road to Williamsport: http://bit.ly/1cOkPr2