For the fifth time since 2001, a Little League team from the San Diego area heads to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
On Saturday night, Sweetwater Valley Little League defeated Waipio Little League from Hawaii, 12-10, in a game that was in doubt until a dramatic rundown in the bottom of the sixth inning ended the game, as the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Walker Lannom, who crushed his seventh home run of the tournament, told the Union-Tribune, “It’s an amazing feeling. We just won the Western championship. We’re going to Williampsort, which we’ve been dreaming of forever.”
The game was a seesaw affair; Sweetwater pushed across five runs in the top of the first, only to see Hawaii respond with four runs in the bottom of the inning. After Sweetwater scored a run in the top of the second, Hawaii threatened to return the favor in the bottom of the second, only to see Jacob Baptista, playing first base, turn a line drive into a 3-6 double play. Sweetwater extended its lead to 9-4 with one run in the third, two in the fourth, and three in the fifth, helped by Baptista’s two-run home run, making the score 12-4 going into the bottom of the sixth.
But Hawaii surged back with six runs, only to fall short as a four-throw rundown between third base and home plate ended their comeback.
Since 1967, when a team from Japan won the Little League World Series, only 14 of the title winners have come from the United States. The only other winners from California besides Park View in that span were the 1992 and 1993 teams from Long Beach.