Little League World Series 2012: Japan, Tennessee move on
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — A group of wide-eyed kids in baseball hats waited patiently outside Lamade Stadium for a glimpse of the Tennessee Little Leaguers after they emerged from a postgame news conference to head back to the dorms.
The boys from Goodlettsville — not even teenagers themselves — are turning into stars at the World Series.
“I just wanted to get the ball in the air deep enough to get the run home from third,” said the 12-year-old Carter. “I felt great when it landed in the outfield.”
Next stop for unbeaten Tennessee: The U.S championship game Saturday.
“We’re enjoying the ride. At this point, win or lose, we’re happy,” manager Joey Hale said.
Texas scored twice in the fifth before Tennessee rallied with its late-game heroics.
Reliever Luke Brown closed it out with a double play, and giddy Tennessee players celebrated in front of their dugout with wide smiles while kneeling on the ground as friends and families cheered from the stands.
Texas must now play an elimination game Thursday night against Petaluma, Calif. Tennessee can rest up until Saturday, when it will face the winner of the elimination game.
“We’ll go back to the room now, address some stuff and then it will be over,” Texas manager Jack Wideman Jr. said. “We’ll be back at it tomorrow.”
Tennessee had squandered several opportunities to build on an early 2-1 lead. Texas reliever Zachary Sanchez loaded the bases in top of the fifth after hitting a batter with two outs, but got a force at third to get of that inning.
San Antonio small ball earned Texas a short-lived 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Landry Wideman had an RBI single before pinch runner Jack Scarborough scampered home from third on a passed ball.
But Texas couldn’t hold on in top of the sixth. Rucker led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on Jayson Brown’s single before racing home after an errant pickoff throw at first sailed into the outfield.
“We just made some mental mistakes down the stretch,” Wideman Jr. said. “I wouldn’t say the wheels came off, it’s just baseball. The roles were reversed, they put the pressure on us.”