The ballgame was a close contest throughout with an ending that seemed to have been scripted in Hollywood. Huntington Beach star Nick Pratto ripped a single with bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning to drive in the game-winning run. California’s win prevented Hamamatsu City from defending the LLWS title for Japan after a team from Tokyo won last year.
Pitcher Braydon Salzman hurled a complete game for Huntington Beach, while striking out nine batters in the process. In the end, Salzman allowed only one unearned run off of three hits in six innings on the mound.
Hamamatsu City took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when pinch-runner Kaito Suzuki scored off an error by Pratto at first base. The Japan lead didn’t last long after California’s lead-off hitter and catcher Hagen Danner blasted his second homerun of the LLWS to open the bottom of the third. Danner ended the Series batting a team-best .500 over the course of six games and 22 at-bats.
Today’s game culminated an amazing 24-hour period for the California boys who defeated former dorm roommates and good friends from Billings, Mont. on Saturday to win the U.S. Championship. In that ball game, Pratto struck out 10, while driving in three runs in the 11-2 victory.
Huntington Beach became the sixth U.S. team to win the Little League World Series in the last seven years.