The all-star team from the Santa Margarita National Little League is in a must-win situation Monday in the Little League World Series, facing its counterpart from the Holbrook Little League.
The loser will be eliminated while the winner will play Tuesday against the winner of Monday’s game between the Northwest Region champion, the Walla Walla Valley all-stars, and the New England champion, the all-star team from Connecticut’s Fairfield American Little League.
Holbrook, based in Jackson, New Jersey, is the Mid-Atlantic Region champion. It has split its two games in the Little League World Series, losing to Fairfield, 7-6, Thursday, then — when facing elimination — defeated the all-star team from Michigan’s Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores Little League, 15-5, the Great Lakes Region champion, on Saturday.
Rancho Santa Margarita-based Santa Margarita suffered its first defeat of the summer Sunday, getting no-hit in a 16-0 loss to the all-star team from the Greenville, North Carolina-based North State Little League in the modified double-elimination tournament in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Santa Margarita was 17-0 in its five tournaments before Sunday, including a 9-0 victory over Walla Walla Valley in its opening-round game Friday.
Tyler Ankrum and twins Joey and Bobby Gray had not lost any of the 42 Little League games their teams played in during 2017, as the team they played on during the regular season, the Yankees, were 25-0.
North State, the Southeast Region champion, increased its lead to 6-0 with five runs in the second inning on a leadoff homer by JoeJoe Byrne and a grand slam by Carson Hardee. After adding a run in the fourth, North State combined six singles, two doubles, a walk and a Santa Margarita error for nine runs in the fifth.
The game was called after five innings because of the mercy rule.
Santa Margarita was held to two base runners. Bobby Gray walked with one out in the fourth and Nick Haddad walked with one out in the fifth. Gray was the only Santa Margarita runner to advance to second as he went to second on a passed ball by North State catcher Jacob Calder.
Chase Anderson pitched the first three innings for North State, not allowing a batter to reach base and striking out four. Matthew Matthijs pitched the final two innings, striking out three and walking two.
Anderson pitched three innings and Matthijs 2 2/3 in North State’s 6-0 no-hit victory over the all-star team from the Sioux Falls Little League, the South Dakota and Midwest Region champion, Friday.
North State had 18 hits off four Santa Margarita pitchers. All but one of North State’s 13 players had at least one hit.
The victory advanced North State into a U.S. bracket semifinal Wednesday against the all-star team from Texas’ Lufkin Little League, the Southwest Region champion, a 6-3 winner Sunday over the all-star team from the Fairfield American Little League.
—City News Service
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