dated August 5, 2017
Max Baer Park, Livermore CA
by Todd Reddick
Freehold Township Little League from Freehold, New Jersey used the long ball for late game heroics for the second straight game.
In a fantastic, well played Little League game, Central East Maui Little League from Wailuku, Hawaii tied the game 4-4 in the top of the seventh tying when Jayke Contero scored on a ground out after initially reaching base by way of a walk.
When Hawaii turned a double play in the bottom half of the inning, we would see the US Championship game go into extra innings.
The only action in the 8th inning was a single walk, but the 9th would be a different story.
Hawaii would get runners on second and third with two outs, and leadoff batter Keoin Painter hit a ground ball in the hole on the left side of the infield. New Jersey shortstop ranged to his right, made a backhand and a strong throw to 1st to narrowly get the runner on the defensive play of the game.
Mario Rivera III got another key late-game hit to reach 1st on a single with one out. And then Zach Gorman stepped up to the plate. After a very good regional tournament, Zach had struggled at the plate in Livermore. Coming into the at-bat, he was just 3-19 with no extra base hits and only one RBI. But that all changed with one swing of the bat.
After taking the first pitch for a ball, he hit an inside fastball over the left field fence for a game-winning, walk-off homer to send Freehold Little League into the 2017 Intermediate Championship against Puerto Rico.
For New Jersey, Jonathan Olik was fantastic on the mound, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing only 5 hits and 2 walks.
Pictured are Zach Gorman, Manager Jeff Gorman, and Jonathan Olik.
New Jersey will play in the 2017 Intermediate Championship game against Puerto Rico on Sunday August 6th at 6pm PST.