AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014 | 6:04 p.m.
Mountain Ridge won its Little League World Series opener today, using a solo home run and four runs scored from leadoff hitter Zachary Hare in a 12-2 five-inning victory against Canyon Lake from Rapid City, S.D.
Mountain Ridge, the first Nevada team to reach Williamsport, Pa., used a four-run fourth inning to blow the game open and take an 8-2 advantage. Brennan Holligan had a two-run double in the scoring outburst and Drew LaSpaluto added an RBI single.
Unlike Mountain Ridge’s previous 13 games over three tournaments to reach the World Series, they faced a few innings of adversity. Austin Kryszczuk, arguably the team’s top player, gave up a two-run home run in the second inning and Mountain Ridge trailed 2-1.
But Hare opened the third with a solo home run to tie the score. Kryszczuk followed with a single, Holligan was hit by a pitch and Brad Stone walked to load the bases. Pinch hitter Andrew Matulich’s infield chopper caused some confusion with the South Dakota middle infielders, and Mountain Ridge scored two runs to take the lead for good.
Mountain Ridge added to its lead with four runs in the fifth inning to extend its lead to 10 runs. The game ended by the mercy run, when one team leads by 10 or more runs after four innings. Kryszczuk, who went 3 for 4, had an RBI single in the fifth and Dillon Jones was hit by a pitch to score another run.
Kryszczuk struck out six batters in pitching into the third inning. Josh Zuehlsdorff, who entered with runners on second and third, pitched a perfect 2 1/3 innings to finish the game.
Mountain Ridge plays again at 11 a.m. Sunday against Jackie Robinson West Little League of Chicago.