Huntington Beach, California, wins Little League World Series | Youth baseball
Nick Pratto singled in the winning run with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of sixth inning in a 2-1 victory Sunday over Hamamatsu City, Japan, in the Little League World Series championship game.
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — An American flag draped around his shoulders, Braydon Salzman couldn't contain his glee when he found California teammate Nick Pratto to give him a postgame hug.
The boys from Huntington Beach are headed home with a Little League World Series championship.
Pratto singled in the winning run with two out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth — and final — inning, and Salzman pitched a complete-game three-hitter in a 2-1 victory Sunday over Hamamatsu City, Japan, in the title game.
"U-S-A! U-S-A!" fans chanted before Pratto's hit.
"I was just thinking, 'Oh, God, oh, God,' before I was getting in the box," the 12-year-old Pratto said. "But once I got into the box, I calmed myself by telling myself to just look for a good pitch."
Pratto's clutch hit returned the title to the United States. A U.S. team has won six of the last seven World Series, with a victory by Tokyo over Hawaii last year the exception.
Pratto tossed his helmet into the air after rounding first before teammates mobbed him in the infield.
Pratto did his father, manager Jeff Pratto, proud. Nick Pratto said it was great to have coaching from his father, "but he kind of gets on my nerves sometimes."
An error by Japan shortstop Gaishi Iguchi on what could have been a sixth-inning-ending double play loaded the bases for California
"My team is physically smaller than most of the teams. We didn't think we would get to this stage," Japan manager Akihiro Suzuki, who fought back tears after the game, said through interpreter Kotaro Omori.