The North Carolina Little Leaguers from Greenville gave it their all Saturday, but fell just one run, thus one game short.
Their Lufkin, Texas opponents claimed the national title with a 6-5 win, and advance to face Japan at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Little League Baseball World Series championship. Texas had to score six unanswered runs to get there.
North Carolina led 5-0 after three innings, only to watch Texas put up two runs in each of the final three frames.
Down 5-4 in the top of the sixth inning, Mark Requena hit a two-run home run over the left field fence to cap off Texas’ big come back.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
It was North Carolina’s only loss in the Little League World Series after nearly breezing through the first three games. North Carolina’s batting in the first three games was phenomenal. Its pitching was nearly perfect.
But Texas found a way on Saturday overcome that.
North Carolina’s Bryce Jackson opened scoring with a hit in the second inning to score Cameron Greenway and JoeJoe Byrne.
In the third, Byrne drove in Thomas Barrett and Ashton Byars to go up 4-0. A Chase Anderson groundout RBI scored Byrne for North Carolina’s final run.
Then Clayton Wigley started the comeback for Texas with his own two-run homer over the center field fence in the top of the fourth inning.
Texas scored two more runs in the fifth inning, one off a North Carolina throwing error.
Requena capped off the comeback with the home run in the sixth. He finished 3 for 3 from the plate and two runs batted in.
Carson Hardee went 5 and 2/3 innings for North Carolina, issuing five strikeouts. Collin Ross struck out five over the same duration for Texas.
North Carolina finished the Little League World Series with a 3-1 record. The tournament was double elimination until the U.S. Championship game.
The Greenville boys opened the World Series with a perfect game last Friday, winning 6-0 over the Midwest. It pitched a no-hitter last Sunday against the West squad in a 16-0 win. On Wednesday, North Carolina, which represented the Southeast, threw a one-hitter in a 2-1 win over Texas, the Southwest region winner.
North Carolina gave up six hits and six runs Saturday. The team plays in the consolation game at 10 a.m Sunday against Mexico.