SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa.—There was some thought that Jackie Robinson West and Mountain Ridge were the two best teams in the United States pool of the Little League World Series.
But after the two played Sunday at Lamade Stadium, all Jackie Robinson West could do was look up at the team from Vegas after losing by the mercy rule 13-2 after four innings.
Jackie Robinson West was never able to recover from a tough first inning,
Pitcher Brandon Green allowed a grand slam with no out in the top of the first inning to Mountain Ridge after walking their first three batters.
But Jackie Robinson West manager Darold Butler stuck with Green. Despite issuing five walks in the first inning, he only gave up one hit—the grand slam.
After throwing a 40-pitch first inning, Green came back in the bottom half of the inning and singled in Jackie Robinson West’s only run of the first inning, narrowing the Mountain Ridge lead to 4-1.
Butler brought Cameron Bufford in to pitch in the second inning. Bufford allowed one run in the top of the second inning. Bufford drove in Jackie Robinson West’s second run in the bottom of the second inning.
The Jackie Robinson West bats never found their groove and were uncomfortable in the box all day when facing Mountain Ridge starting pitcher Brennan Holligan. His fastball was consistently clocked in the mid 70s.
Mountain Ridge’s biggest inning came in the top of the fourth when they scored five runs to force the mercy rule.
For Jackie Robinson West, their hopes of winning a Little League World Series aren’t over. They play Monday against Rhode Island in an elimination game.