Texas, Mexico get second chances in LLWS

By Joe Kay ,AP

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pennsylvania — The title round at the Little League World Series is flush with second chances.

Pearland, Texas, hit a pair of homers in the bottom of the eighth inning Thursday night for a 9-7 victory over Bonita, California, and a berth in the U.S. championship game against what amounts to the tournament’s home team.

After Bonita pulled ahead 7-6 in the top of the second extra inning, starting pitcher Ben Gottfried hit a tying solo shot and Caleb Low ended it with a two-run homer.

Pearland will play undefeated Lewisberry, Pennsylvania for the U.S. championship on Saturday. The winner will face the International bracket champion on Sunday for the World Series title.

Lewisberry beat Pearland 3-0 on Wednesday night to earn a berth in the title game in front of an estimated 35,000 fans, most of them cheering for the Pennsylvania team, which is only a two-hour drive away.

“It’s going to be crazy,” Pearland manager Andrew Solomon said. “It was crazy out there last night. It’s going to be fun, though.”

At least they know what to expect from the crowd the second time around.

“They sounded like my mom when she’s mad,” Gottfried said about the Lewisberry fans, adding, “I probably shouldn’t have said that.”

Low was replaced by a pinch-hitter in his previous at-bat. He didn’t give his manager a chance to call for a pinch-hitter again in the eighth, sprinting out of the dugout with bat in hand when his turn came up.

“To be quite honest, Caleb ran out of the dugout so fast we didn’t have a choice,” Solomon said. “That’s the honest truth.”

Really, Caleb?

“Kind of,” he said. “I felt more confident tonight.”

Mexicali Baja California, Mexico, didn’t need any drama to beat Barquisimeto, Venezuela, 11-0 earlier Thursday and advance to the International title game. Mexicali gets a rematch with Tokyo, which won their earlier matchup 3-1.

The international game ended not with a dramatic homer, but with a swing-and-a-miss. Mexicali players ran from their positions to a spot between the mound and the plate, celebrating their berth in the International championship game.

One player was missing.