All week long the North Boulder Wildcats have heard about how a Colorado team has never reached the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
Until Wednesday, a Colorado team had never made the championship game of a regional tournament.
That changed at Waco’s Marvin Norcross Stadium, where the Wildcats made history and advanced to the Southwestern Region title game with a 11-9 victory over Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
Now one win away from Pennsylvania, North Boulder will square off with Pearland, Texas on Thursday at 5 p.m. on ESPN2. Pearland beat NBLL coach Woody Woolwine’s team 9-1 on Tuesday night.
The bats were the story of the game on Wednesday on a night when both teams were trying to save their top-flight pitchers for Thursday.
North Boulder took advantage by hitting four home runs off of Pine Bluff’s Daniel Koonce. Jackson Woolwine hit the first in a four-run first inning for the Wildcats.
Trailing 5-4 going to the bottom of the third, North Boulder played long ball again. Trevor Moore launched a solo shot to tie the game at 5-5. Two batters later after Manny Arellano was hit by a pitch, Coen Franz — who went 3 for 3 with 3 RBIs — belted a two-run homer.
Pine Bluff answered again in the top of the fourth, scoring three runs, with the big blow coming on Randy Little Jr.’s second home run of the game.
North Boulder had one final answer in the bottom half of the frame. Moore’s three-run blast gave the Wildcats the lead for good.
Arellano pitched the final two innings and allowed just an unearned run and struck out two.
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North Boulder 11, Pine Bluff, Ark. 9
At Marvin Norcross Stadium (Waco, Texas)
Pine Bluff 230 301 — 9 7 2
North Boulder 403 31x — 11 11 1
W — Manny Arellano. L — Daniel Koonce.
North Boulder hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Conner Reagan 3-1-1-0, Ryan Turner 1-1-0-0, Jackson Woolwine 3-2-2-2, Nate Bach 3-1-0-0, Nate Bach 3-1-0-0, Trevor Moore 3-2-2-4, Shane Stoffer 1-0-1-0, Jackson Carl 2-0-0-0, Manny Arellano 2-2-1-0, Coen Franz 3-1-3-3, Jimmy Starry 1-0-0-0, Ty Chandler 1-0-0-0, Dylan Pyle 1-1-0-0, Evan Moll 1-0-0-0, Dillon Souvignier 2-0-1-0. Totals 27-11-11-9. 2B — Arellano, Franz. HR — Woolwine (one on in 1st); Moore (none on in 3rd); Franz (one on in 3rd); Moore (two on in 4th).
North Boulder pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Starry 1.2-3-5-5-2-1; Chandler 0-0-0-0-2-0; Moll 2.1-3-3-3-0-2; Arellano 2-1-1-0-0-2.