BRISTOL – Twelve teams came to Bristol with hopes of earning one of three bids to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn and now just six remain after Pennsylvania’s representatives from Hollidaysburg Area Summer Baseball discarded the Washington D.C. champs from Northwest Washington Little League by a final score of 13-0 in the Mid-Atlantic Region Semifinals.
The Mid-Atlantic was the final region to pencil in their championship matchup and it will be a repeat of Tuesday’s action between Delaware and Pennsylvania on Friday at 3 p.m. on ESPN.
“One thing we talked about after our loss to Delaware was how we would respond,” said Pennsylvania manager Jim McGough. “I thought we responded very well. We got contributions from all 11 players, and we believe in 11 strong, one team together.”
Washington D.C. had to come from behind to eliminate Maryland on Monday but was not able to generate the same momentum in what ended up being their final game of the summer. The run production from Pennsylvania which began as a snowball turned into an avalanche quickly that D.C. couldn’t contain.
A solo bomb by Chase Link of Pennsylvania got the party started in the first inning. Hollidaysburg followed this up by adding four more runs in the second inning to build a comfortable lead. The game was promptly put away in the third inning when eight more runs were tacked on to the scoreboard leading to the eventual 13-0 mercy rule. 12 batters came to the plate for Pennsylvania in their half of the third inning.
Link made sure the lead stayed safe in the field as well. The Pennsylvania front man made a play at third base in the first inning before getting the call to the mound in the second. Link took over for Brody Dull after he walked the first two batters of the frame. In relief, Link tossed three scoreless innings allowing just one hit while striking out six.
McGough said they just needed someone who was going to go in and throw strikes in the second inning. Link and the coaches knew he’d be the one help move the game along.
“I felt confident,” said Link. “Before the game started my arm was feeling great so once we got to the field I wanted to pitch.”
Delaware barely edged Pennsylvania by a final score of 5-4 on Tuesday. Naamans Little League of Delaware last appeared in the regional tournament in 2006. If they come out as winners on Friday it will be their first Mid-Atlantic title since 2003.
After such a strong showing on Thursday, McGough said his team just needs to make sure they play their game like they know how on Friday to have a chance at a trip to Williamsport.
“We need to come with the right mindset, it’s what we talk about every day,” explained McGough. “We’re trying to get better every day and coming in with a positive mindset. We’re going to be ready to play the best game we can, stay together, and we’re going to have fun with it.”