SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Casey Manning’s home run to dead center field capped a three-run fifth inning that propelled Auburn, Wash., past Plymouth, Minn., 5-2 Saturday night at the Little League World Series.
Manning turned on an 0-1 pitch from Minnesota starter Talor Blustin with two outs in the fifth after Dillon O’Grady’s single drove home Isaiah Hatch.
Manning’s father, Frank, played in the 1969 World Series for a team from Santa Clara, Calif. The younger Manning raced around the bases after his clutch hit, greeted at home by a throng of teammates who escorted him back to the dugout.
Minnesota was eliminated after its second loss. Auburn is 1-1.
Ikaiku Nahaku struck out six for Washington and gave up Blustin’s RBI single in the first.
In another game that had ties to a previous LLWS, Knox Carter got some advice from his cousin, Kyle, and his friends about what it would be like to play in South Williamsport.
Kyle Carter was part of the Columbus, Ga., team that took the 2006 title. Now, Knox is making his own highlight reel after hitting a two-run homer to help Columbus beat Waipahu, Hawaii, 6-2.
“It’s everything they said it was,” the 13-year-old outfielder said with a smile. “It’s like baseball heaven.”
In other games, Jacob Jones went deep twice and Hamilton, Ohio beat Toms River, N.J., 16-6; Vancouver, B.C., escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the sixth to beat Chitre, Panama, 4-2; and Kaoshiung, Taiwan routed Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, 18-0.
Hawaii faces an elimination game today against New Jersey. But the Hawaiians have some familiarity with pressure-packed World Series games after watching an all-star team from the same local league win the 2008 title.
“We just lost some focus,” Hawaii manager Brian Yoshii said. “They’re just having fun being here … playing the game with passion.”
Georgia manager Randy Morris, who also led the 2006 champs, shied away from comparing his two World Series clubs.
“We don’t talk about the ’06 team. We’re a totally different team,” Morris said. “That team had their time, and these kids need to have their own time.”
Canada has an odd tradition to keep the team loose. Infielder William Quito, who drove in two runs, stuck a nylon sock wrapped in a red, plastic hazardous material bag in the face of manager Pat Reynold at the post-game news conference. The sock hadn’t been washed in six weeks.
If players don’t smile while at the plate, they get the sock. If all the kids smile during their at-bats, the manager or the coach has to take the sock.
They were smiling at the end when Lucas Soper capped a complete-game effort by inducing a bases-loaded groundout.