Credit: Getty Images
SOUTH WILLAMSPORT, PA - AUGUST 23: Members of the Southwest team from San Antonio, Texas gather in the outfield after losing to the West team from Petaluma, California during their Little League World Series game on August 23, 2012 in South Willamsport, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Friday, Aug 24 at 10:08 AM
McAllister Park's run in the 66th Little League World Series ended with an 11-1 loss to Petaluma, Calif., on Thursday night before a crowd of 15,100 at Lamade Stadium in South Williamsport, Pa.
The game was stopped in the bottom of the fifth inning after Petaluma, representing the West Region, went up by 10 runs.
Petaluma, which finished with 12 hits and stunned McAllister Park with three home runs in the first inning, earned a berth in the U.S. title game against Southeast Region champion Goodlettsville (Tenn.) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
Winning pitcher Danny Marzo held McAllister Park, the Southwest Region champ. to two hits and finished with 11 strikeouts and only one walk.
Seth Morrow took the loss for McAllister, which finished 2-2 in the LLWS after starting out 2-0. The San Antonians were 17-3 in the playoffs.
"They played their best game tonight," McAllister Park coach Jack Wideman said of the West Region champs. "My hat is off to them. They're a very good team. There's a reason why they're here."
Japan will play Latin America for the international championship at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
The winners of the U.S. and international title games meet for the LLWS crown at 2 p.m. Sunday.
McAllister coach: 'They played hard and I'm proud of them'
Sparked by Hance Smith's grand slam and Quinton Gago's solo homer, Petaluma jumped out to a 6-0 lead after one inning. McAllister cut the deficit to 6-1 in the top of the third on a home run by catcher Jordan Cardenas. Carter Elliott got the only other hit for the Southwest champs, singling to right in the second inning.
Smith, who went 3 for 3 and had had five RBIS, hit his second homer in the bottom of the third inning to give the West champs a 7-1 lead.
After a scoreless fourth inning, Petaluma pushed across four runs in the fifth to end the game.
"We only had two hits and we walked some people in the first inning, and you just can't walk them at this level because all the teams are great," Wideman said. "They could really crush the ball."
While his players took the loss hard, Wideman said it didn't take them long to move on.
"There were a lot of tears," Wideman said. "They wanted to win. We addressed all that after the game. But I'm looking at the kids now and they're sliding down the slope (berm) at the stadium, having a blast. They played hard and I'm proud of them."
McAllister Park's 2009 team fell in U.S. title game
Wideman's son, Landry, was among the 13 players on the McAllister Park roster. Landry will be a seventh-grader at Bradley Middle School this year.
This was the second trip to the LLWS in four years for McAllister Park, which made history in 2009 when it became the first team from San Antonio to earn a berth in the tournament.
The 2009 MPLL All-Stars lost to eventual champion Chula Vista, Calif., representing the West Region, in the U.S. title game. Mexico edged the San Antonians 5-4 in the third-place game.
"To come here to the home of Little League Baseball, where it all started, and coach in the World Series is one the happiest things I've ever experienced in my life," Wideman said. "The environment is positive. The kids make friends with people from other states and countries and it's just been great to see them experience all this.
"There have been many Little League teams play in San Antonio over the past 50 years, and only 25 boys (McAllister Park's 2009 team had 12 players) from the city have played here. That's a pretty select fraternity when you consider all the kids that have been involved in Little League baseball all those years."
The McAllister Park players, all of whom will be in the seventh grade this year, were 11 or 12 when the season started. Twelve of the 13 players attend middle school at Bradley, Bush, Eisenhower, Jackson or Tejeda, all in the North East ISD. One player is a student at Buckner Fanning Christian School.
"I just hope more teams in San Antonio believe that it's possible to get here," Wideman said. "It just takes a lot of hard work."