Chicago's Jackie Robinson West bests Texas to stay alive in LLWS
AUG 19, 2014 10:09p ET
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Their gold-and-white sunglasses flipped upside down on the brims of their caps, Joshua Houston, Marquis Jackson and Darion Radcliff filed into the interview room at the Little League World Series brimming with confidence.
Houston pitched five-hit ball over five innings and drove in three runs, his defense rescued him with two double plays, and the Great Lakes champions beat Pearland, Texas, 6-1 on Tuesday night in an elimination game.
Another victory for the all-black Chicago squad from Jackie Robinson West Little League means they'll play again.
''I'm confident,'' Houston said.
Chicago jumped to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a run-scoring single to right field by Jackson, a throwing error, and Houston's RBI groundout.
''That was huge,'' Chicago manager Darold Butler said. ''I think it relaxes the team. It just makes things a lot easier when teams have to chase us.''
Houston doubled home two more runs in the fourth and held Texas at bay until the sixth, when Jackson came on in relief and struck out the side.
''I'm excited for the kids, for the city of Chicago, for the state of Illinois,'' Butler said. ''We're sleeping in. Just keep everything relaxed. Them still being in a bubble, it's not overwhelming for them.''
Chicago will play the loser of Wednesday night's game between hard-hitting Las Vegas and hard-throwing Mo'ne Davis and her Philadelphia teammates, and the Chicago players plan to be there.
Las Vegas routed Chicago 13-2 in four innings on Sunday.
Pearland's season didn't end the way manager Don Smith had envisioned. He was happy for his kids, nonetheless.
''I told the boys to look around and take it all in,'' Smith said. ''There's nothing to be ashamed of. It ended a little sooner than we wanted. They have no idea what they've done — fourth in the United States.''
Pearland's lone run came on Joshua Gabino's double in the third inning. Walter Maeker III, pitching for the first time in a month, was the loser despite a game effort.
Chicago star Pierce Jones, who leads the Little League World Series with four home runs, injured a leg on a hard-hit ball to right field early in the game, but Butler said he was OK.
MEXICO 11, VENEZUELA 1
Juan Garza pitched a four-hitter and struck out six to lead Mexico past Venezuela in five innings.
Garza also hit a a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the first inning. Second baseman Ruy Martinez, who stands 4-foot-8, had three hits and three RBIs for Mexico, while Daniel Quiroz also had three hits with two RBIs.
''He's not a surprise,'' Mexico manager Hector Arrieta said of Martinez. ''He's a great hitter who brings a lot of energy to the team.''
Mexico advanced to a matchup Wednesday against the winner of the South Korea-Japan game on Wednesday.
NASHVILLE 12, CANADA 9
Sam Slaughter homered twice and drove in six runs to help Nashville, Tennessee, beat Canada 12-9 in a consolation game.
The catcher hit three-run homers in the first and fifth innings, while third baseman Blake Money also had a solid performance, going 2 for 3 with two RBIs. He hit a solo home run following Slaughter's homer in the fifth.
Canada made it close, scoring five runs in the sixth inning before its comeback attempt came up short.
Both teams' Little League World Series runs came to an end as they were eliminated from contention last Saturday.