SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — The Pacific All-Stars are headed to the Little League World Series.
Behind a complete-game pitching performance by Ian Michael, Pacific defeated Oregon 6-3 Saturday to complete an undefeated run through the Northwest Regional baseball tournament and earn a trip to Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
“That’s what we’ve been trying to do all season,” Pacific player Robley Corsi III told the San Bernardino Sun. “It’s super exciting.”
The Northwest regional brought together the baseball champions from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska. Pacific dominated the tourney, posting a 6-0 record and outscoring its opponents 55-17
The 2014 All-Stars — a squad made up of 12- and 13-year-olds from Edmonds and Lynnwood — are the first Pacific Little League team to advance to Williamsport. They play Illinois, the champion of the Great Lakes Region, in their opening game on Thursday.
In Saturday’s regional final, Michael surrendered three runs in the first inning, then shut out the Oregon champs the rest of the way. He scattered nine hits and struck out nine.
“I just focused on every pitch,” Michael told the Sun newspaper. “I got the ball down so my defense could do the job.”
Pacific took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a run-scoring double by Tyler Durbin and an RBI fielder’s choice by Karsen Tjarneberg.
After Oregon rallied to take a 3-2 in the bottom of the first, Pacific gained the lead for good by scoring three times in the top of the third. Two runs scored on an Oregon error and the third scampered home on Tjarneberg’s RBI single.
Rallying from behind was nothing new for the Pacific All-Stars: They did it three times in their six wins.
Tjarneberg finished the game 1-for-3 with two RBI. Durbin was 3-for-3 with an RBI. Mason Vaughn and Tygan Duncan each drove in a run for Pacific.
Durbin hit .667 batting (10-for-15) in the tournament.
“I’m just feeling it,” he told the San Bernardino Sun. “I’m seeing it a lot easier. Back in Washington there’s a lot more clouds. Here it’s blue skies. I’m just stroking the ball and I’m happy to be doing it.”
Oregon threatened in the bottom of the sixth and brought the tying run to the plate, but Michael — facing his final batter because of the 85-pitch limit — struck out Oregon’s No. 3 hitter to end the game.
With its victory, Pacific continued Washington’s domination of the Northwest regional. Since the region was formed in 2001, Washington has won the championship eight times, including five times in the past seven years.
Pacific is the second Snohomish County team to reach the Little League World Series, joining the 2008 Mill Creek All-Stars.