Fireworks flew in Grosse Pointe’s first game of the 2017 Little League World Series. The boys from Lufkin, Tex. hit back-to-back-to-back home runs in the third inning, effectively sinking Michigan’s hopes for game one. Texas advanced with a final score of 5-1.
The game began as a pitchers’ duel. Lufkin pitcher Hunter Ditsworth had five strikeouts through the first three innings, and Jack Jones of Grosse Pointe had a snappy eight-pitch first inning.
Jones struggled in the second when he threw 32 pitches. Texas outfielder Collin Ross, leading off the inning, homered on the seventh pitch of the at-bat to score the first run of the tournament. Ditsworth crushed a home run well over the center field wall an inning later, and Ross followed up with his second dinger — Texas’ third — of the evening. Jones’ night was over after 2 2⁄3 innings and 53 pitches.
Grosse Pointe put in Drew Hill, who started the final game of the regional tournament. Hill was greeted rudely by Clayton Wrigley, who came off the Lufkin bench and hit another home run, putting Texas up by five.
The Michigan boys got their first hit of the series in the fourth inning when Joey Randazzo hit a grounder into left field. Unfortunately, they couldn’t capitalize, but did get a run back in the sixth. Will Pflaum, who closed out the regional tournament for Grosse Pointe, hit Ditsworth’s 71st pitch over the left field wall to keep Michigan from being shut out. Ditsworth proceeded to put away the last two batters and slam the door.
Grosse Pointe plays again on Saturday at 3 p.m. EST in the loser’s bracket. They’ll face New Jersey, who lost their first game on Thursday afternoon.
In the meantime, check out this gallery from Mike Mulholland, which includes this photo: