SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Following Fridayâ€™s opening Little League World Series loss, Cumberland American manager Dave Belisle promised his team would play better Saturday against home-town favorite Clinton County, Pa.
He was right. But it was not enough to save Cumberlandâ€™s historic season.
Christopher Wright pitched 4 2/3 brilliant innings of six-hit baseball and repeatedly threw well under pressure Saturday night at Lamade Stadium, but Pennsylvania pitcher Alex Garbrick and Tyler McCloskey stymied Cumberland, combining on a three-hit as Cumberland lost, 2-0.
Cumberland will still play one more Series game against Holland in Tuesdayâ€™s consolation round, but has been eliminated from world title contention.
Cumberland is the first team from its league to reach the Little League World Series and while its title hopes are over, Belisle knows this has been an unforgettable journey.
â€śAll little kids dream of getting to Williamsport at some time, me included,â€ť he said after arriving earlier in the week. â€śBaseball-wise, it doesnâ€™t get any better than this.â€ť
Wright pitched an outstanding game, but Pennsylvania took a 1-0 first-inning lead when Brandon Miller hit a lead-off single, advanced to third on two wild pitches and came home on Garbrick?s infield single and ensuing throw to first.
Pennsylvania added a fifth-inning run when Wyatt Koch hit a two-out RBI single.
In between, Wright was brilliant, stranding six Pennsylvania runners while blocking out the 33,215 fans in attendance and striking out three.
For a second straight game, however, Cumberland could not rediscover the offensive punch that carried it to the New England championship. Cumberland was held to 3 hits and did not move a runner past second.
Wright doubled in the fourth, but Garbrick retired the next two hitters. Ryan McCormick and Max Hanuschak singled in the top of the first, but Garbrick ended the threat with a strikeout.
Tyler McCloskey relieved Garbrick with two outs in the sixth after the starter reached the 85-pitch count limit and to preserve the win. He struck out the only batter he faced on three pitches as Pennsylvania advanced to meet Sundayâ€™s Louisiana-Montana loser on Monday.
Cumberland has one more chance to end its season on a high note and Belisle knows it will be eager to do so. He also knows the games are not the only things his players will remember about this journey.
â€śThe whole experience of what is happening outside the field are going to be the things the kids really cherish,â€ť he said, â€śThose will be memories they take with them for a lifetime.â€ť
At South Williamsport, Pa.
Warner Robins, Ga. 301 020â€”6 7 0
Rapid City, S.D. 000 003â€”3 5 0
Arnett, Fromm (6) and Hampton, Goodman (3); Fees, Kraemer (3), McGriff (6) and Paris. W_Arnett. L_Fees. HRs_Georgia, Fromm; South Dakota, Beyer.
Cumberland, R.I. 000 000â€”0 3 1
Clinton County, Pa. 100 01xâ€”2 7 0
Wright, Lavallee (5) and McCormick; Garbrick, McCloskey (6) and Koch. W_Garbrick. L_Wright. Sv --McCloskey.