Louisiana stays alive
A closer look at the 10-0, 4-inning River Ridge, Louisiana win over Coon Rapids, Minnesota, Monday at Lamade Stadium.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Ryan Darrah helped Louisiana end last night’s game early, lacing a walk-off single into right field that capped a five-run inning. It was a fitting end for a team that erupted offensively and pounded out a Series-high 11 hits.
MINNESOTA PLAYER OF THE GAME: Brett Buettner delivered Minnesota’s first hit since its first Series game when he broke up a perfect game and hit a one-out, third-inning single. He also threw well in relief, striking out a batter in 1/3 of an inning.
LOUISIANA PLAYER OF THE GAME: Derek DeLatte was 3 for 3 and is 13 for 18 since the start of regionals, but Reece Roussel helped set the tone last night and also was 3 for 3 with a double and three runs. Roussel produced his third straight multiple-hit performance at the Series and is 7 for 10 in those games.
BIG INNING: While the Southwest champions won the game with a five-run fourth inning it was a three-run first that provided the spark. Louisiana delivered four hits that inning with Conner Perrot’s sacrifice fly starting the scoring. Gavin Berry and DeLatte then hit an RBI double and RBI single as Louisiana went up 3-0.
BEST EFFORT: Louisiana ace Marshall Louque threw three one-hit innings and struck out four. He retired the first seven batters he faced and kept his pitch count at 50, keeping him eligible to throw again Thursday if Louisiana makes it that far.
FLASHING LEATHER: Minnesota left fielder Dylan Bloom read a Ryan Darrah blooper well off the bat and made a terrific sliding catch in no-man’s land between his position and shortstop. His great play prevented Darrah from opening the first inning with a leadoff single.
Minnesota pitcher Carson Timm saved himself and made a super play an inning later. Timm put his glove up just in time, snaring a Ryan Darrah wicked one-hopper coming his way. Instead of Darrah having a two-out hit, Timm closed out a perfect inning.
Louisiana turned one of the sweetest double plays at this year’s Series, closing out the fourth inning. Second baseman Derek DeLatte stopped a hard grounder and made a quick throw to shortstop Stan Wiltz. Wiltz made a textbook turn off of second base and his perfect throw to first beat the runner by a step.
WHAT THE ADULTS SAY: “It’s a different setting when you’re playing in front of 20,000 people, but the kids have handled it very well,” Louisiana manager Scott Frazier said. “We just keep preaching one pitch at a time, keep chopping wood, and that’s what we’re doing right now. We’re kind of in a process.”
WHAT THE KIDS SAY: “I felt confident because I had the lead. All you have to do is throw strikes and let your teammates work,” Louque said. “It helps me out because I can throw my pitches and let them hit it and my defense works.”
WHAT IT MEANS: Louisiana is now one of the country’s top four teams and will play Wednesday against the winner of Tuesday’s Rhode Island-New Jersey game. It is two victories away from reaching the U.S. Final. Minnesota’s remarkable summer-long run ended, but this was the first team from the Coon Rapids Andover American Little League that reached the Series and this team’s achievements will live on its league’s annals forever.