Michigan made World Series interesting
Grosse Pointe, Mich., was eliminated from the Little League World Series on Saturday, losing its second game in two days.
If style points counted, though, Michigan would be near the top of the standings.
Michigan, which plays the Czech Republic in Tuesday’s consolation game, lost two scintillating games. First, the Great Lakes champions lost 3-0 in seven innings to California after pitchers Chad Lorkowski and Grant Holman staged one of the all-time great Series pitchers’ duels.
Saturday, they scored five, two-out, sixth-inning runs before losing a 6-5 heartbreaker to Iowa.
“They never quit,” Michigan manager Tom Mazzola said. “We played two entertaining games. We lost both, but they were both thrillers.”
Michigan had produced no runs and only one hit before staging a remarkable comeback against Iowa. Jake Vyletel made it a one-run game when he smashed a three-run home run.
“That was beautiful,” Mazzola said. “He didn’t jog around the bases, he sprinted. That is something he will never forget, and I’m so happy for him.”
GARWOOD THE GREAT: His team’s Series hopes hanging on Saturday’s outcome, Iowa pitcher Grant Garwood pitched the game of his life. The right-hander allowed only a hit that was lost in the lights and no runs in 5 1/3 innings. He also struck out 13 and fanned the side three times.
“He was amazing,” Iowa manager Robert Ball said. “He’s worked a lot on his pitching and he did an awesome job.”
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: Iowa looked like it was cruising to victory Saturday before Michigan mounted its comeback. That, however, is not this team’s style.
All summer, Iowa has won its elimination tournament games in thrilling fashion. At the Midwest Regional, it overcame a 3-0 deficit and edged Nebraska, 4-3 in 11 innings. It then eked out a 3-2 win over previously undefeated Minnesota in the final.
It was nerve-racking again Saturday, but again Iowa came through.
“These guys really like to give their coaches heart attacks,” Ball said. “Every one of the elimination games has been really close. But I couldn’t be more proud of them because they really battle it out.”