Grandview Little Leaguers ‘live out their dream’ in Williamsport
Grandview Little League put quite a scare into its heavily-favored East Coast opponent Thursday to kick off its appearance at the Little League World Series.
The Des Moines squad briefly held a lead in the third inning before falling 5-2 to a team from Staten Island, New York.
The Mid-Atlantic regional champions, who hadn’t trailed in a game all postseason before Thursday afternoon, took the lead for good with two runs in the fourth inning. With the score tied 2-2 and a runner on second, Staten Island first baseman John Calabrese slapped a one-out single to right field. A high throw to third base from Des Moines right fielder Jace Embry bounced near the dugout, allowing a runner to score and Calabrese to advance to third.
Calabrese later scored on an RBI groundout. Staten Island added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth inning to provide the final score at Howard J. Lamade Stadium in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Grandview had taken a 2-1 advantage on a pair of runs in the top of the frame. Blake Larson cracked a one-out double off Staten Island’s Calabrese to bring home Connor Duong. Later in the inning, Alex Stewart drew a bases-loaded walk to give the Iowans the lead.
Grandview couldn’t do any further damage, though, with the inning ending via a borderline called third strike on a full count.
“There’s nothing we can do about balls and strikes,” Grandview coach Josh Stewart told starting pitcher Brody Watson in a visit to the mound during the decisive fourth inning.
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Staten Island tied the game in its half of the third after a high throw to third base from Des Moines catcher Brayden Shutt allowed Gregory Bruno to score following an attempted steal.
Watson put together an encouraging outing after a nervous start. He threw four innings, allowed four runs (two earned) on four hits while striking out five hitters and walking just one.
Grandview couldn’t find much rhythm at the plate, however, striking out 13 times and amassing only four hits against a trio of Staten Island pitchers. The Iowans committed three errors in the field.
Larson led the way at the plate for the Des Moines squad, going 2-for-3 with his RBI. Stewart and Maddox O’Connor had the other two hits for Grandview.
Grandview will return to play at 2 p.m. Saturday on ABC against the loser of a game later Thursday between Coventry, Rhode Island, representing the New England region, or the Southwest champion from Houston. Each team is guaranteed three games in Williamsport, but a second loss would eliminate the Iowans from title contention.