Aug 27, 2011 5:43 PM by Scott Breen (Billings)
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, PA - Huntingon Beach, California, Saturday did what no other team had at this year's Little League World Series: they beat the Billings Big Sky All-Stars in the Little League World Series.
California broke open a close game in the middle innings of Saturday's U.S. championship game, and added insurance in the 6th for an 11-2 win.
After light rain started and stopped in the top of the 4th inning, Huntington Beach pitcher Nick Pratto connected on a 2-run double to pad California's lead, 5-1. Pratto also struck out ten Big Sky batters in 5 1/3 innings. A combination of Billings mistakes in the top of the 6th inning allowed California to balloon its lead to 11-1.
Cole McKenzie delivered a bright spot for Big Sky, driving a solo home run to deep left centerfield in the final inning. But California iced it with a strikeout for it's 11-2 win. They'll meet Mexico in Sunday's World Series Championship game at 10:00 a.m. MDT.
The Billings All-Stars trailed 3-0 in the bottom of the 2nd inning, before Andy Maehl scored all the way from 1st base on a pair of wild California throws to make it 3-1.
Huntingon Beach struck first on Hagen Danner's lead-off double to open the game. Danner advanced to 3rd base on a passed ball, then scored on Nick Pratto's ground-out to shortstop. Dylan Palmer belted a 2-run homer in the 2nd opening California's lead to 3-0.
Billings pitcher Patrick Zimmer worked into a bases-loaded jam when he hit a batter with one out in the top of the 3rd. But Zimmer forced the next two batters to pop out to the infield avoiding any damage.
Between Regional and World Series play, Big Sky has won seven straight games and combined for a 20-1 all-star record since opening play in July. They beat Huntington Beach 1-0 in seven innings on Ben Askelson's walk-off home run in Wednesday's undefeated semifinal.
Billings native Brent Musburger is handling play-by-play for today's nationally televised game on ABC, with former L.A. Dodgers and MLB World Series winning pitcher Orel Hersheiser managing color duties. Big Sky won the coin toss and elected to play as today's home team.
Earlier Saturday, Japan beat previously undefeated Mexico 5-2 advancing to tomorrow's World Series Championship against the Billings vs Huntington Beach winner.