Pearland West, the Southwest Regional Champion, took their first step toward a Little League World Series title when they defeated Wilshire Riverside Little League of Oregon, the Northwest Champion, in the opening round of the LLWS at Lamade Stadium in Williamsport, Penn.
Isaac Garcia belted a home run over the centerfield fence to give the Pearlanders their only hit and run, but it was enough as Pearland claimed a 1-0 victory to move to the next round.
Pearland 8 – California 4
Pearland West scored five runs in the third frame to eventually take an 8-4 win over Bonita, California in the second game of the Little League World Series.
Pitcher Ben Gottfried was able to deliver a strong performance on the mound while getting excellent defensive help to shut down the high-octane offense of the Californians.
The win for Pearland is their 16th straight this summer and sends Pearland West into the United States semifinal game scheduled for 7 p.m., Wednesday.
Pearland West will take on Taylors, South Carolina or Lewisberry, Penn., in the game to be televised by ESPN.
The winner advances to Saturday’s U.S. Championship game set for 2:30 p.m.
Gottfried was in complete control for 4 2/3 innings as he allowed just three hits, struck out seven, and didn’t issue a free pass.
The California hitters were very frustrated as they had previously won each of their games by double digits. California had produced 70 hits – or 14 per game – in its last five games prior to its game with Pearland West.
Gottfried also belted a two-run home run to centerfield in the sixth inning after Tristan Schwehr singled to increase the lead to 8-1. It was the second two-run home run of the day for Pearland West, whose other two-run blast came from Raffi Gross in the third inning.
One of the strengths of this Pearland team rests on a strong hitting attack and dominating pitching.
Isaac Garcia came in to relieve Gottfried with two outs in the fifth, and struckout his first hitter with runners at second and third to end a California threat and leave Pearland with its 6-1 lead.
California made four errors in the first three innings which helped Pearland build a comfortable lead.
The West Coast stars got a three-run blast in the sixth inning from Dante Schmid to close the gap to 8-4 After that home run, Garcia settled down to retire the next two batters to send Pearland West into the U.S. semifinals.