SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – Kyler Terry homered again and Dixie Little League pounded out 16 hits en route to a 13-11 elimination game win over Northern California Wednesday at the Little League West Regionals at Houghton Stadium.
But Dixie, representing the state of Utah, was unfazed. The southern Utah boys went to work, putting together twin five-run rallies in the bottom of the second and the bottom of the third.
The second-inning rally started with back-to-back doubles by Terry and Seth Wells that made it a 6-1 game. After an infield single by Tayven Mortensen, Wells came home on a wild pitch to make it 6-2. Kean Webb followed with an RBI that scored Mortensen and made it 6-3. Two batters later, Matt McArthur doubled home two more runs to make it 6-5.
The Dixie team tied it up early in the next inning as Terry led off and took a 1-0 delivery from NoCal pitcher Peter Jensen and ripped it well over the center field fence, making it 6-6. But the rally was just getting started.
Tate Maynard hit a bloop single to left to bring home Wells and give Utah its first lead of the game, 7-6. Moments later, Trey Evans ended up scoring on a wild pitch to make it 8-6. Jaxon Barben then made it a 10-6 game by ripping a liner to left field that scored Maynard and Cole Decastro.
Dixie never trailed again, though the game was far from over. NoCal scored twice on RBI singles in the top of the fourth to cut it to 10-8. Dixie got one back with an RBI groundout by Ty Maynard that made it 11-8.
Barben had a double, then McArthur and Parker Andrus both had RBI singles in the bottom of the fifth to make it 13-8 for Dixie with one final chance for Northern California.
NoCal started the top of the sixth with four straight hits, a single, a triple (by Josh Van Loon) and two doubles. The four hits brought home three runs and made it 13-11 with no outs. But Dixie pitcher McArthur entered the game and retired three of the next four batters to give Utah the thrilling 13-11 victory. The final out, a fly out to left field, came with the tying run on first.
Barben led the way with three hits, while McArthur, Terry and Evans had two hits each. Seth Wells got the win on the mound despite allowing five earned runs. He notched four innings of relief work. McArthur pitched the save for Dixie, which has won two straight elimination games since an opening West Regional loss to Hawaii.
The win earns the Dixie Little Leaguers a bye on Thursday. Dixie will await the results of Thursday’s Hawaii-Southern California game, which is at 7 p.m. (PST).
Dixie will play the loser of that game in another elimination contest Friday at 7 p.m. (PST). Both games can be watched online on ESPN3.
Northern California is eliminated with the loss. The team from San Ramon, Calif., went 1-2 in the West Regional.
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