Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

California wins Series on walkoff

Nick Pratto, left, and Braydon Salzman celebrate Pratto’s single that gives Huntington Beach, Calif., the Series title.

Associated Press

Nick Pratto, left, and Braydon Salzman celebrate Pratto’s single that gives Huntington Beach, Calif., the Series title.

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — California returned the Little League World Series to the United States with the type of victory even the big-leaguers dream about.

Nick Pratto singled in the winning run with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of sixth to give the boys from Huntington Beach a 2-1 victory over Hamamatsu City, Japan, and the World Series championship on Sunday.

"It's just a dream come true," said Hagen Danner, who homered for California. "I never thought we would be in (the final), let alone winning it."

With runners on first and second, an error by Japan's shortstop on what could have been an inning-ending double play loaded the bases. After a dribbler to first led to a forceout at the plate, Pratto came to bat.

"USA! USA," yelled fans as he stood in the box.

And Pratto smacked a solid liner to centerfield off Kazuto Takakura that brought pinch-runner Eric Anderson home with the winning run.

Pratto tossed his helmet into the air after rounding first before his teammates mobbed him in the infield.

"I was just thinking. 'Oh, God, Oh, God,' before I was getting in the box," said Pratto, who struck out 10 and drove in three in Saturday's U.S. final.

"But once I got into the box, I calmed myself by telling myself to just look for a good pitch."

A U.S. team has now won six out of the past seven World Series. The exception is last year's win by a team from Tokyo.

Braydon Salzman pitched a complete-game three-hitter for the win, striking out nine. Japan starter Shoto Totsuka struck out five over 41/3 innings but gave up the homer to Danner.

"My team is physically smaller than most of the teams. We didn't think we would get to this stage," Japan manager Akihiro Suzuki, who fought back tears after the game, said through an interpreter. "All of the players did such a wonderful job to get to this stage."

California wins Series on walkoff 08/28/11 [Last modified: Sunday, August 28, 2011 7:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Major-league bullpens get stretched as starters take a seat

    The Heater

    Mike Marshall led the majors in appearances in 1973, with 92 for the Montreal Expos. The next spring, having joined the Los Angeles Dodgers, Marshall met his new manager, Walter Alston.

  2. Bucs get first new video director in 29 years


    When the Bucs took to the practice field this week to start OTA practices, they did so with a new video director for the first time in 29 years.

    Bucs video director Dave Levy, shown during the 2003 season, worked under nine different head coaches in 29 seasons working for Tampa Bay.
  3. Rays set to activate Tommy Hunter from DL


    The Rays plan to activate RHP Tommy Hunter from the DL for Thursday's series finale against the Angels.

  4. Steven Souza Jr. snaps out of slump as Rays defeat Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — After Tuesday's shutout loss to the Angels, Steven Souza Jr. stood in front of his locker and talked about his need to contribute to the offense.

    Tampa Bay Rays catcher Jesus Sucre (45) hugs right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) in the dugout after his two run home run in the second inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.