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September 23, 2014

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Mountain Ridge takes down South Dakota in World Series opener

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AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

In this photo taken with a fisheye lens members of the Mountain Ridge Little League team from Las Vegas ride in the Little League Grand Slam Parade as it makes its way through downtown Williamsport, Pa., Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014.

Nevada advances to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA.

Nevada players celebrate after defeating Pacifica 11-2 Saturday night to win the Little League Western Regional Championship. Mountain Ridge Little League, from Las Vegas, Nevada, defeated Pacifica Little League 11-2 Saturday August 9, 2014 in the Little League Western Regional Championship game at Al Houghton Stadium in San Bernardino. Nevada will play at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA. starting next week.  (Will Lester/Staff Photographer) Launch slideshow »

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.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21

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