The all-star team from the Torrance Little League will again try to avoid elimination when it faces the Washington (Utah) Little League all-stars in the West Region Tournament Wednesday.
The 4 p.m. elimination-bracket game will be streamed by ESPN+. Attendance at Al Houghton Stadium in San Bernardino is limited to the pass holders from the teams playing and the “Friends and Family” pass holders.
Torrance defeated the all-star team from Las Vegas’ Summerlin South Little League, 8-6, in nine innings Tuesday, keeping alive its quest to be the first team from Los Angeles County to reach the Little League World Series since 1994.
Xavier Navarro scored the tie-breaking run on a passed ball by Summerlin South catcher Ethan Gordon with two outs in the top of the ninth inning in the elimination-bracket game. Skylar Vinson added an insurance run when he stole third and continued home on an error by Gordon.
Navarro began the inning on second base under the tiebreaker rule. Little League games are scheduled for six innings. After Gibson Turner struck out, Navarro advanced to third on a passed ball, and later scored on another passed ball.
Grant Hayes led off the top of the eighth with a two-run homer for Torrance, driving in Dominic Golia, who began the inning on second.
Summerlin South, the Nevada state champion, scored twice in its half of the eighth. Gordon began the inning on second, moved to third on a single by leadoff hitter Stone Amsden and scored on an error by Golia, Torrance’s third baseman, which also allowed Amsden to take third.
The next batter, Alec Kajioka singled in Amsden, tying the score, 6-6.
Summerlin South had the potential winning run on third with two outs in the eighth, but Vinson induced Gavyn Kim, the second batter he faced, to ground out to end the inning.
Torrance (1-1) opened the scoring with two runs in the first. Turner doubled in Navarro, who walked to lead off the inning. Turner moved to third on Vinson’s ground out. After Andrew Nuruki walked, Turner scored on Asher Flansburg’s wild pitch.
Summerlin South (0-2) combined two triples, two singles and a walk for four runs in the second.
Golia singled leading off the fourth, moved to second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a ground out and scored on a two-out error by Aiden Farrell, the Summerlin South second baseman.
Torrance tied the score, 4-4, in the fifth. Turner walked leading off the inning. Vinson, the next batter, singled him to second. Turner moved to third on Nuruki’s ground out. Hayes, who began the game at third base, re-entered the game as a pinch-hitter and singled with two outs, driving in Turner.
Vinson, the last of Torrance’s four pitchers, was credited with the victory, pitching 1 2/3 hitless innings with one strike out.
Summerlin South played without three players because of COVID-19 protocols, leaving it with the minimum 10 players.
Torrance is two victories away from advancing to the Little League World Series. With the Little League World Series limited to U.S. teams this year because of the coronavirus, each of the top two teams from the eight U.S. regions will advance to the World Series instead of just the champion.
Teams winning at least three games in the West Region Tournament are assured of a berth in the Little League World Series.
Washington (1-1) lost to the Honolulu Little League all-stars 15-0 Sunday to begin the tournament. The Utah state champion rebounded to defeat the all-stars from Arizona’s Queen Creek Little League, 6-0, Tuesday to remain in the tournament.
Torrance began the tournament with a 1-0 loss Sunday to Queen Creek, relegating it to the elimination bracket of the modified double-elimination tournament.
The most recent team from Los Angeles County to reach the Little League World Series was the all-star team from the Northridge Little League, which won the U.S. championship with a team including future USC and NFL quarterback Matt Cassel.