The all-star team from the La Verne Little League will seek its second victory in the Little League Softball World Series when it faces its counterpart from the Chesterfield Little League of Chesterfield, Virginia Wednesday.
La Verne, the West Region champion, opened play Tuesday with a 9-2 victory over the all-star team from the Pitt County Girls Softball Little League of Winterville, North Carolina, the North Carolina champion which earned a spot in the 12-team tournament as the host region champion.
Chesterfield, the Southeast Region champion, will be playing its opener in the modified double-elimination tournament in Greenville, North Carolina.
The game is set to begin at 4 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time and will be streamed on ESPN+.
The winner will advance to Friday’s Orange Bracket Winner’s Bracket final, while the loser will play in an elimination bracket game at 10 a.m. PDT Thursday.
“LaVerne has played extremely well up to this point to make it to the Little League Softball World Series and has definitely shown signs of dominance,” ESPN analyst Amanda Scarborough told City News Service before Tuesday’s game. La Verne outscored its opponents 30-1 in three games to win the West Region tournament.
“They are a complete team up at the plate, on defense and in the circle. They’re going to be extremely difficult to beat.”
Winning pitcher Katie Coldiron allowed two runs, both unearned, and three hits over five innings, striking out four and walking two. She also doubled in a run during La Verne’s three-run second inning. It was the team’s lone extra-base hit.
Scarborough, a former Texas A&M pitcher, called Coldiron “one of the hardest throwing pitchers at the World Series.”
All of La Verne’s second-inning runs came with two outs. Ava Fisher, La Verne’s No. 9 hitter, singled in Sofia Ayaberrano, who walked to lead off the inning. Erin Garcia, who had also walked, also scored on the play on an errant throw home by Logan Smith, the Pitt County center fielder, which also allowed Fisher to take second.
Coldiron doubled in Fisher.
Ryan Torres singled leading off La Verne’s half of the third and moved to second on an error by third baseman Ava Coward on a ground ball hit by Laney Sweeney. Torres stole third two pitches later and Sweeny stole second two pitches after Torres’ steal.
After Ayaberrano struck out, pinch-hitter Bailey Osborne was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Kylie Chavez grounded to Sarah Booth, the Pitt County first baseman, but Torres beat the throw to the plate, with Sweeny taking third on what was ruled to be a fielder’s choice. Sweeney scored two pitches later on a wild pitch, increasing La Verne’s lead to 5-0.
Pitt County scored both its runs in the fourth. Jenkins led off with a walk, advanced to second on Booth’s fly out, stole third and scored on a passed ball.
Kamdyn Haislip walked on a full-count pitch and was replaced by special pinch-runner Kinsey White, who scored on an error by Torres, the La Verne shortstop, on a bunt by Kayla Johnson.
La Verne combined a leadoff walk to Coldiron, singles by Laila Washington and Ayaberrano, an error and a passed ball for four runs in its half of the fourth inning in the six-inning game.
La Verne out-hit Pitt County, 7-5, with Torres and Washington both singling twice.
La Verne is attempting to become the fourth team from Los Angeles County to win the World Series and the first since 1990 when the all-star team from the Foothill Little League in Glendale won. Los Angeles County’s other two champions were also from Glendale.
The tournament is set to conclude Monday.