Huff leads Kentucky to consolation win
Here is a closer look at Bowling Green, Kentucky’s 4-1 win over Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on Monday at Volunteer Stadium in a crossover consolation game.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Kentucky’s back-to-back singles in the top of the second inning set the tone for the Great Lakes champions. Not only did it put two runners on base, but more importantly, it allowed Kentucky to get its offense sparked as Jackson Idlett came through with an RBI double a few batters later to help Kentucky score the first runs of the game.
KENTUCKY PLAYER OF THE GAME: Idlett was the only Kentucky player to have multiple hits in the team’s final official game in South Williamsport, going 2 for 2 and drawing a walk. He had the team’s lone extra-base hit when he drilled a double in the second inning. He later added an RBI on a sacrifice fly.
AUSTRALIA PLAYER OF THE GAME: Ewan Choat prevented Australia from being shut out in its final game. The shortstop hit an RBI single into right that allowed Lucas Gallardo to score and cut the deficit to two runs. His single was his only hit of the game — he reached on a walk in the first inning — but that hit led to the the team’s lone run.
BIG INNING: Kentucky collected three hits, including a double by Idlett, and took an early 3-0 lead against Australia. An error on the third baseman on a grounder allowed Chaze Huff to score the first run of the game. A wild pitch made it 2-0 bringing in Grayon Newman. Luke Idlett was driven in on Jackson Idlett’s double to shallow left. Small mistakes piled up for Australia, resulting in two of the runs.
BEST EFFORT: Kentucky pitcher Chaze Huff was excellent in his final game at the Little League World Series. Huff threw a complete for the Great Lakes champions and limited what Australia did, allowing just three singles and only one earned run. He also struck out six.
“It felt good. I stretched, I felt good, felt loose. I had trust in my defense and got through the game,” Huff said.
FLASHING LEATHER: Kentucky turned a great double play in the bottom of the third inning to end any threat after Australia scored its first run. Zac Curtis drilled a line drive to Kentucky second baseman Nick Simpson. Simpson flicked it to shortstop Luke Idlett for the out at second and then get the force at first to end the inning. If the double play wasn’t turned, Australia would have put two runners on with just one out.
HOME RUNS: There were no home runs in this game.
WHAT THE ADULTS SAY: “Throughout the whole tournament we always tried to be visitors to get out there and score some runs and take some pressure off our pitcher. It was good to get a run out there early on,” said Kentucky manager Rick Kelley.
WHAT THE KIDS SAY: “It just felt really good because I hadn’t really played much in states or districts or even regionals that much, but I just got to go up there and do my job and that’s what I did today,” Kentucky’s Jackson Idlett on going 2 for 3 with a double.
WHAT IT MEANS: Both Australia and Kentucky are out of title contention and won’t play any more games at the Little League World Series. Kentucky went 1-2 and Australia went 0-3.