Source: South Williamsport, Pa.
Date/Time: Day, August 21, 8:00pm ET
A phenomenal pitching performance by Quinton Gago combined with several big hits powered the West champions from Petaluma, Calif., Little League to a 5-0 shutout over the New England champions from Fairfield, Conn., Tuesday night at Lamade Stadium in an elimination game of the Little League World Series.
The West outshone New England in all facets of the game, as New England seemed to be having a bit of an off night both offensively and defensively.
The West's starting pitcher Gago had a spectacular showing, pitching 5 1/3 innings while giving up just two hits. New England pitcher Matt Kubel had a decent showing, as well, scattering seven hits over five innings.
The West's hitting was on point, as well, putting New England in a deep hole in the bottom of the third inning when Hance Smith ripped a 3-run home run, putting the West up, 4-0. They added single runs in both the second and fifth innings.
“The Petaluma pitcher threw a heck of a game,” said New England manager Bill
Meury. “He got stronger and stronger as the game went on. To keep our hitters to
just three hits is really something.”
“We just didn’t put the ball in play enough,” added Meury. “We didn’t put enough pressure on the defense.”
Though Hago had a heck of a game, he was not completely sure of himself when he took the mound.
“I am usually a closer, so I was nervous and excited when I got the starting nod,” he said. “I got stronger and stronger as the game went on though. It was definitely my best pitching performance yet.”
Several New England miscues, a rarity for the usually solid defense, proved to be costly as the West took full advantage of them.
“You always want to take advantage of mistakes,” said Petaluma manger Eric Smith. “They were big for us.”
Meury knows that mistakes are part of the game though..
“You’re going to make mistakes. Had we put some runs on the board, it could’ve been a different ball game,” Meury said. “We just couldn’t get the momentum going tonight."
The West advances in the winners’ bracket and will take on the winner of Wednesday's elimination game between the Southwest and Southeast at 8 p.m. on Thursday. New England has been eliminated from the Little League World Series, but plans to stick around until at least Thursday.
“The boys have had a great summer. It has been a great experience and the memories will be terrific and positive,” said Meury.