By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
The Pacific Little League All-Stars are one win away from Williamsport.
Pacific received a strong pitching performance, then erupted offensively late in the game to defeat Montana’s Boulder Arrowhead Little League team 10-3 Thursday night in the Northwest Regional semifinals at Al Houghton Stadium in San Bernardino, Calif.
Pacific, an 11/12-year-old team made up of players from Lynnwood and Edmonds, received a six-hitter from pitchers Ian Michael, Logan Kruse and Tai Starchman. Then Tyler Durbin and Karsen Tjarneberg slugged home runs during a seven-run sixth inning that turned a close game into a rout.
“It was like each of our games,” Pacific manager Robley Corsi Jr. said via cell phone. “We like to wait to score runs until the sixth. It’s hard on me, but it’s exciting to them.
“Our pitchers were outstanding, all three of them,” Corsi added. “And then the runs came in a bunch.”
Pacific, which was the top seed from round-robin play, remained perfect in the tournament at 5-0. Pacific advanced to the championship game, where it will face Oregon’s North Bend Little League, the No. 2 seed, for a berth to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn. Pacific beat North Bend, which advanced to the championship game by beating Alaska’s Eagle River Little League 7-6 in Thursday’s other semifinal, 10-2 during round-robin play.
“I think it’s pretty awesome,” Corsi said about advancing to the title contest. “We’re having a ball doing it. It’s just one of those types of teams, they’re a good group of kids and they’re all about the team.”
The regional championship game is 1 p.m. Saturday and will be televised on ESPN.
Montana finished the tournament 1-4.
Pacific opened the scoring in the top of the first inning courtesy of Durbin’s RBI double into the left-field corner, which scored Ben Grant from first base.
Boulder Arrowhead tied it in the bottom of the fourth, but Pacific immediately regained the lead in the top of the fifth. Grant scored the tiebreaking run on a wild pitch, then Kruse lined an RBI single to center to make it 3-1.
Pacific then put the game away in the sixth. With two on and one out, Durbin blasted a mammoth shot ball down the left-field line that just stayed fair for a three-run homer. Then after courtesy runner Tygan Duncan scored on a wild pitch, Tjarneberg lined a two-run shot to right-center. Robley Corsi III tacked on an RBI single to center to make it 10-1.
Montana scored a pair of consolation runs in the bottom of the sixth, but it couldn’t prevent Pacific from advancing to the finals.