By DAVID DAVIS
For the fourth consecutive year, a Pearland Little League 12-year-old team has won the state title. Pearland has actually won the Little League state championship six out of the past seven years.
Lufkin won the title in 2012 while Pearland was been crowned in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. Pearland has appeared three times in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA. in 2010, 2014, and 2015 and they are now looking to make the trip again if they can win the Southwest Regionals in Waco.
Pearland East (Texas East) will take on Bryant, Ark., at 1 p.m., Aug. 4 in a first-round game in the Southwest Region Little League tournament in Waco.
The tournament continues through Aug. 10 when the championship game will be played at 6 p.m. The final three games of the tournament will be televised by ESPN. All other games will be aired on the Longhorn Network.
The Pearland Bolts entered the state tourney as the favorite and they proved they were worthy of that pre-tournament pick as they opened up the first round of the state tournament with a 24-9 thrashing over Washington City.
Pearland took care of Bridge City 10-0 in the second round to advance to the state finals to face the Lamar National Cardinals for the state title.
Pearland had an opportunity to sweep through the state tournament without a loss, but a fiesty Lamar squad wasn’t going to go down easy and Pearland got a wake-up call when the Cardinals knocked them off 11-9 in the double-elimination tournament.
Pearland entered the game a little flat and Lamar took advantage as they scored five runs in the first inning that included a grand-slam home run followed by a solo shot for a quick 5-0 lead.
The Bolts answered in the top of the second with two runs as Joshua Flory, who led off the inning with a walk, scored on a single by Jake Sock. A single by Ethan O’Donley brought home sock to cut the lead to 5-2.
Lamar added a run in the second inning for a 6-2 advantage.
Hayden Windsor blasted a solo homer for the Bolts in the top of the third to cut the lead in half 6-3, but Lamar went on another scoring spree in the third with one run and for more in the fourth for an 11-3 lead.
But the never say die Pearland squad scored five runs in the fifth as Cameron Ponce singled and led Windsor to cross the plate on his second home run of the game. Andrew Stanaland, Flory, and Sock all scored in the frame to cut the lead to 11-8.
Windsor scored his third run of the game in the sixth to draw Pearland to within 11-9, but the Cardinals finally shut Pearland down for the 11-9 win to force a final game for the state title.
Pearland scored nine runs on 12 hits, but it wasn’t enough to grab the title.
Pearland 8 – Lamar 3
A rejuvenated Pearland team wasn’t going to be denied in the winner-take-all contest for the Texas East State Championship in Tyler.
Pearland opened the game with a 1-0 lead when Jake Sock punched a one-out double and scored on a two-out single by Andrew Stanaland.
Lamar National answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first for a 2-1 advantage.
The Bolts matched the two runs as Chris Cano walked and scored on a Cameron Ponce double. Ponce would later score giving Pearland a 3-2 lead.
Pearland scored the winning run in the third on a Stanaland home run for a 4-2 lead.
Lamar scored their final run in the fourth to close the gap at 4-3, but that would be a close as they would get in keeping Pearland out of the throne room.
Pearland added four more insurance runs including a two-run homer b Brayden Evans in the fourth that plated Damian Angel who had doubled.
The Bolts wrapped it up in the sixth with two more runs as Ponce and Mark Zapata both scored to post the 8-3 final score for Pearland’s fourth consecutive state championship.
Pearland scored eight runs on nine hits including a pair of round-trippers.