WACO, Texas — In both of their Little League World Series Southwest Regional games so far, the North Boulder team has found a way to wake up the bats early only to see their opponents mount late rallies.
The Wildcats were able to hold off Tulsa to open their tournament on Thursday, but on Saturday night against Eastdale (New Mexico) had their big lead completely wiped away in a 6-5 loss to even their mark at 1-1 in the double-elimination bracket.
Holding a 5-0 lead as early as the second inning, Boulder couldn't keep up the momentum and allowed New Mexico to score runs in the second, third and fourth innings to take the lead and steal the victory.
The Wildcats had the tying run at third base with two outs in the fifth inning but could not score, and New Mexico relief pitchers Aidan Young and Ryan Pullen were able to close the game with a clean seventh inning for Eastdale (2-0).
"It was really a heartbreaker of a game," said coach Woody Woolwine, whose team will play again Sunday night at 7 p.m. local time against Starkville (Mississippi). "I told the kids beforehand that this could be a phenomenal team we're playing, and they just kept hitting the ball around.
"We had a big error that lead to a couple runs but outside of that I thought we played great. It was actually a great baseball game."
Eli Booth's double in the second frame scored two runs and made it 4-0, and he would score on a single from Dillon Souvignier to make it 5-0.
Young came in immediately after and allowed just one hit, striking out five over the next four innings. Thirty-eight of Young's 53 pitches were strikes.
Eastdale managed to get a few free baserunners with six walks drawn and were able to score the winning run in the fourth frame after a walk and a single to open the stanza.
"We squared up on some but they just went right at the fielders, and they made a couple of excellent plays out there when we thought we had got some through," Woolwine said. "We are going to fight back. We think we can win the next couple games, and we have our pitching back so anything could happen."
Cooper Conroy scored two runs for North Boulder, which had five hits as a team. AJ Armstrong also drove in a run.
Little League Southwest Region
Eastdale (NM) 6, North Boulder LL (CO) 5
At Norcross Stadium
Boulder 230 000 — 5 5 1
Eastdale 023 10x — 6 4 2
L — Harman.
Boulder hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Conroy 2-2-1-0, Booth 3-0-1-2, Souvignier 3-0-1-1, Rucker 2-1-0-0, Armstrong 3-0-1-1, Woolwine 2-0-0-0, Barr 1-0-0-0, Boselli 1-0-0-0, Zirk 1-1-0-0, Burke 1-0-0-0. Harman 1-0-0-0, Stafford 1-0-0-0, Sunderland 1-1-1-0, Roberts 1-0-0-0. Totals 23-5-5-4.
Boulder pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Rucker 2-1-2-2-3-3, Harman 2.2-3-4-1-3-1, Stafford 0.1-0-0-0-0-1.