To explain how Tennessee advanced to Little League World Series Championship game with a 24-16 victory over Petaluma National Little League on Saturday in South Williamsport, Pa. is simpler than it seems.
Petaluma almost got single-handedly 10-run ruled by Tennessee’s Lorenzo Butler in the first six innings of Saturday’s U.S. Championship game. Butler’s three three-run home runs for Tennessee broke the Little League World Series record for most RBIs in a game with nine, and gave his team a 15-5 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth.
Coming to bat at what seemed to be its final chance, Petaluma manager Eric Smith was heard telling his team on a ESPN microphone it wasn’t over yet, despite the score seeming to show otherwise.
“Whatever you do don’t give up,” Smith was heard telling his team. “Have a good approach, do what you got to do. Finish strong.”
Petaluma whittled away at the 10-run deficit, getting it to just four runs when they recorded the second out of the frame. Seemingly at the brink, Petaluma powered its way back into things. A Bradley Smith double scored Logan Douglas to make it 15-12. Kempton Brandis, down to his last strike, then crushed a two-run home run to left field to make it 15-14.
Then Hance Smith came to the plate, and found himself down to his final strike, only to blast an 0-2 pitch over the center field wall to complete the comeback at 15-15, sending the game into extras, but the jubilance of the big comeback didn’t last long.
Tennessee scored nine runs in the top of the seventh to put the game away for good, and ending Petaluma's chance for a World Series title.
Bradley Smith led Petaluma with three RBIs and Hance Smith, Danny Marzo and Logan Douglas each plated two runs.
Petaluma will play Panama in the consolation game tomorrow at 8 a.m. on ESPN. Pacific time while Tennessee will face Japan for the championship at 12 p.m. Pacific time on ABC.