After four innings, the National Giants held a 5-0 lead over the American Angels in the Junior Little League City Championship on Friday, utilizing accurate pitching and a strong defense to stifle their opponents.
The momentum was clearly on the side of the Giants as the Angels stepped up to the plate in the top of the fifth inning, but all that would soon change. With one out and two runners on base, Connor Harmon hit a line drive to second to score Max Martell from third base, giving the Angels their first run of the game and a sense of hope. Harmon’s RBI was followed by a Blaine Weber two-run single and a Cody Justice RBI to cut the Giants’ lead by one.
“I told the kids that they worked hard all season for (the Championship) and if they still wanted it they didn’t have much time to take it,” Angels coach Lance Justice said.
With their lead at stake, the Giants defenders began to display mental lapses, committing errors at the most inopportune of times. After a throw out at first, the Giants were one out away from escaping the inning with their lead still intact, but Walter Fountain had other plans as he hit a single to second base, through second baseman’s legs, for a two-run RBI to take a one point lead. The damage had been done.
In the next four innings, the Angels scored four more runs and held the Giants scoreless for a 10-5 championship victory.
“We finished second last year by half a game, so we were definitely gunning for the championship this year,” Justice said. “We though all season that we had one of the better teams in the league.”