SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — A good start and an early lead quickly turned into a bad dream for the Snow Canyon Little Leaguers, who fell hard to Southern California 11-1 Thursday night.
Coming in as a huge underdog to a Sweetwater Valley (San Diego) team that had eight 13-year olds, Snow Canyon opened the first half of the first with stellar defense, including a double play. The SC squad then took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Mason Strong hit a hot shot past SoCal second baseman Walker Lannom. Strong ended up at third base in what was ruled as a three-base error. He scored on the next pitch,a passed ball that went to the backstop, to make it 1-0.
The California team tied the game in the top of the second on an RBI single by Dante Schmidt and then turned the game into a blowout with a pair of three-run home runs in the top of the third that made it 7-1. One of them was by Lannom, who ended up with two homers and six RBIs in the game.
Sweetwater then pushed the lead to 11-1 and with 6-foot tall Levi Mendez on the mound, the mercy rule was almost a sure thing. Mendez threw just 35 pitches (making him eligible to pitch in Saturday’s championship game) and left with two outs in the fourth and a no hitter still on the books. Nate Nankil recorded the final out for SV.
Snow Canyon is still alive in the West Region championships as the teams vie for a trip to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. The Utah team will play Hawaii Friday (7 p.m. on ESPN) with the winner taking on Sweetwater Valley Saturday for the region championship.
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