It was the team from Huntington Beach, California who reigned victorious today, beating Japan 2-1 for the Little League World Series championship title. Go USA! Congratulations!
The game was delayed due to the rain thanks to Hurricane Irene, but three hours later it was time for the first pitch. Both teams were tied at the bottom of the third and it would stay that way until Nick Pratto came to the plate at the bottom of the sixth inning. The bases were loaded, with two outs. No pressure, right?
“I was just thinking, Oh God, Oh God, before I was getting in the box,” Pratto said. “But once I got into the box, I calmed myself by telling myself to just look for a good pitch.”
His single landed in center field, which allowed pinch-runner Eric Anderson to run home for the win. Doesn’t this scenario remind you of Game 7 of the 2001 World Series? I know, I know, slight difference, there was only 1 out and yes, we’re talking major leagues versus the little league but still, humor me. Luis Gonzalez will never forget that game winning single. Neither will myself (a longtime Arizona resident) and the millions of Diamondbacks fans watching. He remembers fondly, ‘Not a day has passed that I haven’t thought about it. Not one. And not a day has passed that I haven’t thought about how fortunate I was to be in that position, how fortunate we all were. It was so wonderful to be a part of that. It’s one of those moments where the memory never fades away.”
I can only imagine that Nicholas will also remember this day throughout his lifetime, and that his shining moment will forever be etched in his memory.
In the last seven World Series, the United States has won six of those titles, with Japan winning the tournament last year. Congrats on bringing the title back home to the U.S., boys!