LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL : Northridge Wins, 17-7, Will Go to World Series
Northridge scored 10 runs in the sixth inning Friday night to defeat Waianae, Hawaii, 17-7, before 8,800 and qualify for the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
Matt Cunningham, the Northridge catcher, led off the sixth with a home run and added a grand slam later in the inning. Northridge pounded 18 hits and every starter had at least one.
“We had to take this team out,” said Peter Tuber, the winning pitcher. “That last inning, we were pumped.”
Tuber, grandson of former Dodger and National League batting champion Pete Reiser, came on in relief of Justin Gentile in the first inning with the bases loaded, two out and Hawaii leading, 4-3. He got a strikeout and went on to strike out 11 en route to his third victory in the regional.
Northridge (17-0, 5-0 in regional play) will play Central Region champion Brooklyn, Minn., at 4 p.m. PDT Monday in Williamsport. Northridge, which has outscored opponents, 221-41, is the third team in a row from Southern California to represent the Western Region at the World Series. Long Beach is two-time World Series champion.
Shortstop Matt Fisher homered, doubled and singled for Northridge, and center fielder Nathaniel Dunlap homered and singled twice.
Hawaii took a 6-3 lead in the second inning, but the Northridge players believed it would only be a matter of time before they got to Hawaii starter Christen Asinsin.
“We had to come back and we knew we could,” Cunningham said. “Their pitcher was throwing so many pitches.”
Asinsin, who had pitched a day earlier in a victory over Utah, threw 126 pitches before leaving with one out in the sixth and Northridge leading, 12-7.
Northridge went ahead, 7-6, in the third, but a solo home run by Fred Taitin in the fifth tied the score.
“I knew we were going to Williamsport when that ball went over the fence,” Cunningham said of his leadoff home run in the sixth.