Next stop: Williamsport, Pa.
Eastlake Little League had no need for the late-inning theatrics of its last two wins in the Northwest Regional title game against Montana, jumping to a 4-0 first inning lead on an Austin Oh triple and never looking back in a 13-1 win.
Jack Matheson went the distance on the mound, allowing only four base hits and reaching the pitch limit of 85 on the final pitch of the game, which gave him his seventh strikeout and sent a team from Washington to Williamsport for the first time since 2010.
Oh finished with five RBI and a pair of base hits to lead the way offensively, while Will Armbruester and Jacob Dahlstrom also knocked in two each.
The win capped an unbeaten performance for Eastlake in its first ever trip to the regional tournament.
The 12-year-old Washington champions needed comebacks in the final game of pool play and the semi-final round against Idaho, erasing a deficit in the bottom of the final inning each time to remain alive.
It will be the Southwest regional champions from Corpus Christi, Texas waiting on Thursday, Aug. 15 in the first game of pool play. The two-week tournament culminates with the World Series Championship on Sunday, Aug. 25. All of the games in the tournament will be featured on live television broadcasts on ESPN, ESPN or ABC.
Eastlake Little League’s 12-year-old All Star squad is still living the dream.
The district and state champions from Sammamish are now one win away from Williamsport, Pa. and the Little League World Series after a comeback 5-4 win over the state champions from Idaho Thursday night in the Northwest Regional tournament.
Coeur d’Alene scored four runs in the top half of the second inning to take a 4-1 lead before Eastlake came back with one each in the fourth and fifth. Trailing by a run with only three outs remaining in their season, Eastlake put up two runs on two hits to get the win, the second coming on a walk-off wild pitch scoring Jack Titus to set a date with Montana for the regional title.
After Jack Matheson relieved Jacob Dahlstrom on the mound in the sixth, and escaped a two-out jam with a strikeout, the Eastlake offense took care of the rest in the bottom of the bottom half of the inning.
Matheson was the first man to the plate and after falling in a 1-2 hole, worked a full count before drawing a walk on a check swing on an outside pitch from Idaho pitcher Anton Watson, who struck out 11 in five-plus innings of work.
Jack Titus shot a hard ground ball off the glove of the third baseman with one out in the inning and after falling down 0-2, Austin Oh tied the game 4-4 with an RBI single into center field.
Two pitches later, Eastlake was bouncing on the infield as Titus came streaking home in front of the throw to complete the second comeback in as many games.
The championship game of the tournament is set for 2 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2 against Billings, Mont. Eastlake beat the same Montana team 10-4 on Monday.