Ohio Back for More Against Thousand Oaks in Title Round
When Thousand Oaks heads into today’s championship game of the Little League Junior World Series for 13-year-olds, the team must back up some pretty impressive praise.
Sparky Anderson, manager of the Detroit Tigers and a Thousand Oaks resident, is an honorary guest of the tournament.
“Put all your money on Thousand Oaks,” Anderson said earlier in the tournament. “They got some guys that can play.”
Thousand Oaks (17-1) will play Hamilton, Ohio, at 2 p.m. PDT, needing only one victory to claim the title.
Thousand Oaks has reached the championship game of the eight-team double-elimination tournament without a loss, defeating Puerto Rico, 3-0, on Monday; Jacksonville, Fla., 10-3, on Wednesday, and Ohio, 5-2, on Thursday.
If Thousand Oaks loses the first game, a second game will be played 30 minutes later.
Ohio (14-1) advanced to the championship round with a 9-6, come-from-behind victory over Vestal, N.Y., on Friday.
Ohio trailed New York, 5-1, after four innings, but scored a run in the fifth, six runs in the sixth and another in the seventh.
New York, which defeated Matamoros, Mexico, 6-2, earlier in the day, scored a run in the bottom of the seventh and loaded the bases with two outs, but could draw no closer.
Chris Strauser (6-0) will make his third start of the series for Thousand Oaks.
Strauser (three innings) and Kevin Howard combined on a one-hitter in the victory over Puerto Rico, and Strauser gave up one run and four hits in five innings to pick up the victory over Florida.
Thousand Oaks Manager Ed Kitchen said that Wes Munyon (1-0) will be the first pitcher out of the bullpen, if needed.
If Munyon falters, Kitchen will turn to Howard (7-1), who has two victories in the series.
Howard pitched a five-hitter and struck out seven batters against Ohio.
He picked up the victory in relief against Puerto Rico, allowing one hit and striking out six in four innings.
“We don’t care who we play and we haven’t cared from the beginning,” Kitchen said. “We can’t be cautious; we need to stay aggressive.”