By DR DAVID DAVIS
The dream of the Pearland East 12-year-old baseball team making a return trip to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA., came to a shocking halt as the boys from Pearland were swept out of the Southwest Regional in Waco, TX. by Arkansas 4-2 and Louisiana 8-1.
The Texas East Little League state champions faced an Arkansas-Bryant Little League team that used a four-run fifth-inning rally to overcome an early 2-0 deficit to pull out the win to send Pearland East to the loser’s bracket in the double-elimination tournament.
Pearland East scattered eight hits compared to only two hits by the Arkansas squad, but Pearland stranded nine base runners.
Arkansas was able to take advantage of the two hits in the fifth frame to their full advantage.
Pearland starter Josh Flory certainly did his job as he didn’t allow a hit in his two innings on the mound. He allowed no runs and struck out six with his 55 pitches.
Pearland scored a run in the top of the third after Josh Graf singled to lead off the third inning. Brayden Evans then reached on a fielder’s choice before Hayden Windsor singled to right.
Drew Stanaland gave Pearland a 1-0 lead when his single to centerfield to score Evans from second base.
Pearland increased the lead when Cameron Ponce stroked a leadoff double to center.
Following a wild pitch, Drew Kestner drew a walk. Pinch runner Garrett Coiner then advanced to second on an interference call.
Damian Angel and Ethan O’Donley each struck out, but a passed ball with Evans at the plate allowed Ponce to score easily from third.
Errors by Pearland in the fifth inning helped contribute to their demise against the boys from Arkansas.
Pearland will now be fighting to stay alive in the tournament as another loss will send them home.
Louisiana 8 – Pearland East 1
When Pearland sends a 12-year-old Little League team to regionals, they aren’t accustomed to playing only two games and then going home.
Such was the case this year as Pearland East was quickly eliminated from the Southwest Regionals losing to Arkansas 4-2 and Louisiana 8-1.
Louisiana used strong hitting and outstanding defense to get the easy win.
It appeared that Pearland would jump quickly on the boys from Louisiana in the top of the first as they loaded the bases as Brayden Evans, Jake Sock and Hayden Windsor each reached on singles with no outs.
But that’s when the Louisiana pitching put out the fire and escaped without giving up a run. Louisiana pitcher Gavin Guidry fanned the next three batters to end the threat.
Louisiana scored four runs in the bottom of the first, one in the second, two more in the fourth and one in the fifth for a 8-0 advantage.
Guidry helped his cause at the plate when he hit a line drive home run over the left field fence for an 8-0 score. Guidry allowed no runs, four hits, struck out eight and walked two in four innings on the mound.
Pearland’s only run of the game came in the final at bats in the sixth
Pearland East didn’t get on the scoreboard until its final at-bat in the sixth inning when Drew Stanaland belted a double, Josh Flory singled, and Cameron Ponce hit a sacrifice fly.
Pearland got only one other hit in the game when Windsor stroked a one-out double in the third, but was stranded there.