Little Leaguers fall just short in Lethbridge

Whalley defeated in national championship game

A very successful season has ended for the Whalley All-stars, winners of their district and provincial playoff tournaments before falling a game short at the Junior Little League national championship tournament in Lethbridge.

Whalley fell 4-0 to the Rocky Mountain Red Sox in today’s championship game of the seven-team tournament. Only the winner advanced to the World Series starting this weekend in Taylor, Michigan.

The All-stars won five of six round-robin games, the only loss a 2-1 setback to the Red Sox in extra innings. A 14-6 win over the host Lethbridge Giants in yesterday’s semifinal game put Whalley to within a game of advancing to the World Series.

Outstanding pitching left both teams hitless – and scoreless – through the first half of the game, before the Red Sox finally broke the deadlock, scoring four times off three hits over the final three innings. Two Rocky Mountain pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter against the B.C. champions.

Despite not getting a hit, Whalley threatened to score twice in the first four innings. Brendan Yip drew a lead-off walk in the top of the first inning, then moved to third base on a pair of wild pitches only to be stranded there as a strikeout ended the inning.

In the fourth, Joshua Jawanda was hit by a pitch, then Matthew Diamantakis drew a walk. A sacrifice by Nola Weger left runners on second and third, but they were left stranded.

The Red Sox broke the scoreless tie in the fourth inning with the first two hits of the game to put two runners on base. An infield out that scored the  first run.

Whalley again put a runner in scoring position in the fifth, as Yip got on base on a Rocky Mountain error then stole second. But he became the fourth Whalley runner stranded in scoring position.

The Red Sox doubled their lead in the fifth after a runner reached first on an error, moved to third on two stolen bases then scored on an infield out. They added two more in the bottom of the sixth.

Clayton Sandover was forced to take the loss despite throwing a solid game. Of the four runs scored, only one was earned. He gave up just three hits in six innings pitched while striking out three batters.

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