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Players with the Grandview Little League team from Des Moines march in a parade kicking off the 2018 Little League World Series.
Special to the Register, Des Moines Register

In a Little League World Series game filled with spectacular defensive plays, a rare mistake ultimately sent Grandview Little League out of the international youth baseball tournament Monday.

Reggie Sharp’s bases-loaded single in the bottom of the sixth inning completed a  comeback from four runs down for a team from Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, and the Great Lakes regional champion eliminated the Des Moines youngsters with a 5-4 victory in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Third baseman Alex Stewart, who began the game as Iowa’s starting pitcher, handled a routine groundball from Michigan’s Oliver Service to lead off the sixth. But Stewart’s throw sailed into the stands for an error, which sent Service to second base.

 

A bunt single and a walk followed, loading the bases with no outs. On a full-count pitch from Iowa’s Connor Duong, Sharp pinged a line drive between first and second to keep his team alive in the 16-team, double-elimination tournament.

“You have to be calm,” Sharp told ESPN after the victory. “The adrenaline is pumping, but I just tried to stay calm and not do too much.”

The tough ending soured what was looking like a highlight-reel romp for the Midwest regional champions.

Playing as the visiting team for the third straight game, Des Moines scored a run before recording an out. When two more crossed the plate on a passed ball for a 3-0 lead, the Iowans had chased Michigan starter Brennan Hill before he could return to the dugout.

Then to lead off the bottom of the first, right fielder Brayden Shutt had the ESPN announcers ooh-ing and ahh-ing with his twisting, sprawling catch near the warning track. 

The advantage could have been much larger if not for an equally impressive play by Michigan in the top of the second. With the bases loaded and two outs, third baseman Jarren Purify dove to his right to snag Stewart’s grounder hugging the baseline. He scampered to his feet and stepped on the bag to keep the game within reach.

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