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October 25, 2014

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Analysis: Mountain Ridge gave us great memories, has nothing to be ashamed of

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Matt Slocum / AP

Las Vegas’ Dallan Cave reacts after a 7-5 loss to Chicago in the U.S. championship baseball game at the Little League World Series on Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, in South Williamsport, Pa.

Updated Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014 | 3:33 p.m.

Mountain Ridge vs. Chicago

Las Vegas' Justin Hausner (5) leaps on home plate and celebrates with teammates Austin Kryszczuk (21) and Brad Stone, right, after all three runs scored on a double by Drew Laspaluto off Chicago's Joshua Houston in the first inning of a United States Championship game at the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa., Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar Launch slideshow »

Mountain Ridge Little won’t be remembered for what happened today: They lost at the Little League World Series to Chicago, 7-5, in the U.S. championship game.

Rather, the team of ballplayers ages 12-13 will be remembered for its accomplishments. They, after all, were the first from Nevada to advance to the World Series in Williamsport, Pa., in more than 70 years of its existence.

This team was loaded.

Entering today’s game they had a 16-0 record in four tournaments this summer and had outscored opponents 184-29. They had the tournament’s best player in slugger Austin Kryszczuk, who hit a ball so hard during one game at Williamsport the ball dented the outfield wall.

Leadoff hitter Zach Hare had eight hits in 11 at bats in the World Series, and players such as Bradley Stone and Brennan Holligan thrived while playing in front of 30,000-plus fans with hundreds of thousands more watching on the ESPN family of networks.

This team did more than win baseball games. They brought residents of Southern Nevada together and gave us a reason to cheer. Fans flocked to watch parties, demanded bartenders to put the game on their televisions and rooted wildly for a group of children they had never met.

Mountain Ridge had trailed just once in its journey, falling behind to Arizona in pool play of the West Regional before winning 6-5. So, when they gave up four runs in first two innings to Jackie Robinson LL of Chicago to trail 4-3, they were in an unfamiliar spot of having to play from behind.

After falling to score in the third and fourth innings, Stone delivered a two-run home run to put Mountain Ridge ahead 5-4. His blast to right field was with two strikes and two outs, showing the resiliency of the players. It’s why residents were so attracted to them.

Mountain Ridge was six outs away from advancing to the world championship game, but couldn’t stop Chicago from scoring three times in the fifth to take the lead for good. Kryszczuk was scheduled to be the starting pitcher, but had apparent shoulder tightness and was scratched for Holligan.

Kryszczuk replaced Holligan briefly in the fifth, but lasted just one batter because of the discomfort.

Mountain Ridge could have easily folded in its final at-bats, but Alex Barker singled and Dallan Cave advanced on an error to put two runners on base. But Chicago got a double play to end the game, sealing a victory some would argue was the biggest surprise of the tournament. Earlier in the tournament, Las Vegas beat them 13-2.

Mountain Ridge will play Japan Sunday in a consolation game. While it’s not the way they hoped to finish the tourney, players will surely regroup and cherish the opportunity to play one last game at Williamsport.

Soon, the disappointment of coming up short will die. They’ll realize the journey is one of our town’s greatest athletic accomplishments.

Mountain Ridge upset by Chicago in U.S. title game

The Mountain Ridge Little League team had runners on first and third base trailing by two runs in its last at-bats today in the U.S. championship game of the Little League World Series.

But Jackie Robinson LL of Chicago forced a double play to end the game, handing the northwest Las Vegas team its first loss of this summer in 17 games, 7-5.

Mountain Ridge will play Japan tomorrow in a consolation game.

Check back later for more.

Mountain Ridge trails by two runs entering final at-bats

Mountain Ridge is down to its final three outs at the Little League World Series.

Chicago’s Jackie Robison LL scored three times in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a 7-5 lead against the Las Vegas team heading into the final inning of the U.S. championship game.

If Las Vegas loses, it would play Japan Sunday in a consolation game. The winner plays international champion South Korea for the world title.

Stay tuned ...

Mountain Ridge LL scores twice, retakes lead against Chicago in fifth

Down to their final four outs, the Mountain Ridge Little League team finally took the lead against Chicago in the U.S. championship game of the Little League World Series.

Bradley Stone’s two-run home run with two outs in the fifth inning gave the northwest Las Vegas team the 5-4 lead entering the bottom of the fifth.

After falling behind 4-3 after two innings, Las Vegas couldn’t score in the third or fourth innings. It was just the second time they’ve trailed in 17 games this summer.

Little League plays six-inning games, meaning Las Vegas is six outs away from earning a spot against South Korea in Sunday’s world championship game.

Mountain Ridge LL trails Chicago 4-3 after two innings in U.S. title game

The Mountain Ridge Little League team is in an unfamiliar spot: They are trailing.

The Las Vegas team surrendered a run to Chicago’s Jackie Robinson Little League today in the bottom of the second inning in Little League World Series’ U.S. title game to fall behind 4-3.

Mountain Ridge entered the game with a 16-0 record. It’s trailed just once in four tournaments in advancing to the World Series.

Mountain Ridge, Chicago exchange 3-run innings to open Little League title game

Brad Stone has the play of the game for Mountain Ridge Little League.

Chicago’s Jackie Robinson LL had four consecutive hits to open the bottom of the first inning against the Las Vegas team in the U.S. title game at Little League World Series, tying the score at 3-3 and grabbing momentum.

With one play, the shortstop Stone and Mountain Ridge took it back. Stone grabbed a groundball headed for the outfield, stepped on second for the force out and threw to first bases for a double play.

Mountain Ridge got out of the inning two batters later. Looks like we’re in for a fun Saturday at the ballpark.

Mountain Ridge LL grabs early 3-0 lead in U.S. championship game

Mountain Ridge Little League has scored first today against Chicago in the U.S. championship game of the Little League World Series.

Drew LaSpaluto, Mountain Ridge’s 4-foot-8, 80-pound second baseman, had a bases-clearing double with two outs in the first inning to give the northwest Las Vegas team a 3-0 lead.

Zach Hare, Austin Kryszczuk and Brennan Holligan singled to open the game for Mountain Ridge. After Chicago recorded two outs, LaSpaluto made sure his team didn’t waste the scoring opportunity.

LaSpaluto hammered a two-out fastball over the centerfielder’s head. By time the ball was retrieved, all three runners scored.

The winner advances to Sunday’s world championship game against South Korea. South Korea beat Japan 12-3 in the international championship game earlier today.

Pregame

The first Nevada team to reach the Little League World Series is two wins away from capturing youth baseball’s most prized event.

Mountain Ridge Little League of northwest Las Vegas takes on Jackie Robinson Little League of Chicago today in the U.S. championship game in Williamsport, Pa. The winner advances to face South Korea, who beat Japan 12-3 today in the international championship game.

Along the way, the Mountain Ridge team of players ages 12-13 have become wildly supported in their hometown. Mountain Ridge’s Thursday game on ESPN registered a 16.3 rating, which broke the local record viewers for a World Series game.

Mountain Ridge, which beat Chicago 13-2 early in the event, has long appeared to be its best team. It has a 16-0 record this summer, giving up just 27 runs. In 11 games, they’ve won by the 10-run mercy rule.

We’ll keep you posted all game. Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #MountainRidge.

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

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