SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Dalton Chandler came on in relief and struggled for Sammamish, Wash., in its Little League World Series opener. Then he stepped up to the plate and turned things around.
“The hitting made me feel a little better. I was still a little nervous,” Chandler said.
Chandler allowed three runs before hitting a single, double and triple in four plate appearances, and Sammamish used four pitchers to beat Corpus Christi, Texas, 8-4 on Thursday to advance to the second round.
Jack Carper had a home run among his three hits and Nathan Fitzgibbons drove in two runs for the Northwest champions, who moved on to a winner’s bracket game Sunday against Westport, Conn., which beat South Nashville, Tenn., 3-2 in the night game.
Westport trailed 2-1 before rallying with a pair of runs in the fifth inning.
“We got down but we’ve been in tough spots several times this year and the kids always find a way to battle back,” Westport coach Tim Rogers said. “They know how to keep grinding.”
Sammamish jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning, and manager Rob Chandler — Dalton Chandler’s father — had already planned to pull starter Jacob Dahlstrom after around 50 pitches. Dahlstrom wound up throwing 53 and departed with two Corpus Christi runners on base in the third inning before Dalton Chandler took the mound.
“We had a game plan that he’d go 50 (pitches) and we’d try to preserve pitch counts,” Rob Chandler said.
Before Chandler recorded his first out, he walked two, allowed a base hit and threw a wild pitch. By then, Juan Sosa, Christian Servantes and Brandon DeLeon had scored to pull Corpus Christi to 5-4. Sosa scored on the wild pitch and Servantes followed when the ball was thrown errantly back toward home plate.
Will Armbruester and Jack Matheson followed Chandler to the mound over the final three innings and limited Corpus Christi to two hits to preserve the victory. Carper and Chandler scored in the top of the sixth to help Sammamish pull away.
“Our kids are tough when it comes to the pressure side of things. That’s a big reason why we’re here,” Rob Chandler said.
Corpus Christi will face South Nashville on Saturday.
In the international bracket, Tijuana, Mexico, beat Perth, Australia, 14-0 in a game that ended after four innings because of the 10-run rule, and Aguadulce, Panama, beat San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, 9-4. Tijuana will face Aguadulce on Sunday, while Perth will face San Lorenzo on Saturday.
Connecticut 3, Tennessee 2
Ricky Offenberg homered and Chad Knight had a run-scoring double during a fifth-inning rally that lifted Westport to the win. Knight gave Westport the lead after Offenberg tied it 2-2 with a leadoff homer.
Ben Pickman homered on reliever Harry Azadian’s first pitch to give South Nashville a 2-1 lead, but Azadian retired the next five batters. Pickman and Knox Preston had a pair of hits apiece for South Nashville.
Mexico 14, Australia 0
Brandon Meza struck out eight and knocked in three runs, and Brandon Montes added a three-run homer for the Mexican champions in the third inning.
Perth was the first team from the continent to qualify for the LLWS after Australia became its own region for the first time this year. Chase Diggans had the first two hits in LLWS history for Australia, including a first-inning double.
Panama 9, Puerto Rico 4
Armando Lopez knocked in three runs, and Daniel Fernandez and Juan Crisp each hit a two-run homer for Panama.
The Latin American champions took control with five runs in the bottom of the second. Lopez had a two-run triple and Fernandez hit the first home run of the LLWS.
Puerto Rico scored four runs in the top of the fourth to pull to 6-4 before Crisp homered in the bottom half and Lopez added an RBI single in the fifth.