Tuesday’s must-win game was a nail-biter for the Encinitas Little League All-Stars team as it squeaks by with a walk-off win against the Saginaw Township Little League in the Junior Little League World Series in Taylor, Michigan.
The game was tied at 4-4 until the bottom of the seventh inning when Cooper Dulich singled on a line drive bringing in one run for a 5-4 Encinitas win.
“We were confident and we were hopeful for a win,” Encinitas Little League board president Robert Wade said. “We came out strong. It was a tough team we faced — probably one the best team we faced. And our kids kept on battling. It was good to see them battling till the end.”
Central-North champs took the early in the first inning but Encinitas answered back with three runs. The West champs managed to hold on to the lead until the third inning when Encinitas gave up three runs. Saginaw Township’s Nolan Matuszewski started the big inning off with a single on a line drive to center for two runs for a 3-3 tie.
It was an error by Cooper Dulich off Carter Sullivan’s ground ball that allowed Brady Alverson to score, giving Saginaw Township the lead.
Julia Nunez’s one-run homers on a fly ball to left field tied the game again at 4-4 in the fifth inning. Encinitas was able to hold Saginaw Township at 4-all until the seventh inning for a walk-off win.
With the win, Encinitas stays alive in the tournament but it faces the Wylie Little League team again on Wednesday for another must-win game. Abilene beat Encinitas on Sunday but lost to Kennett Square KAU Little League 11-4 on Tuesday.
Wade said it were walks that contributed to the loss against Abilene. For Wednesday’s game, the team will have a different strategy against Texas.
“We’ve been looking at all the games. The team that walks more batters loses,” he said. “We want to make sure that we focus on throwing strikes, letting them put the ball in play and letting our defense work for us.”
Wednesday’s game starts at 11 a.m. Pacific Time.
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