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Back in familiar territory: Hollidaysburg LL loses opener, but has been there before

Hollidaysburg surrenders six runs in fifth inning of opening-round loss to Texas

Hollidaysburg’s Tyler McGough looks to first base after getting caught up in an inning-ending double play in the bottom of the fifth inning. Mirror photos by Patrick Waksmunski

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT–Hollidaysburg finds itself back in familiar territory.

Sure, Hollidaysburg hoped to make its Little League World Series debut a winning one Thursday at Lamade Stadium. And for a while, it looked like it might with Hollidaysburg leading 2-0 into the third inning. Pearland, Texas, however, erupted for six Runs in the fifth inning and defeated the Mid-Atlantic champions, 8-3.

The loss, however, does not end this remarkable run for Hollidaysburg. It can keep its season alive if it defeats Massachusetts Saturday night under the lights, back at Lamade. Judging on past results that could be a good thing.

Hollidaysburg is 7-0 in elimination games since states, winning most of those games in blowout fashion, so do not expect this loss to keep it down for long.

“We talk about it all the time. How we respond really shows the makeup of our character and who we are as a team,” Hollidaysburg manager Jim McGough said. “We talked about it out in right field (afterward). We’ve been through this before when our backs are up against the wall and we have to face adversity we look to see how will we respond. We have a day to get through some things and work on some mistakes we might have made. The only way to get better is to go through some of these situations and respond with a positive outcome.”

Beau Rabel enjoyed a big night, going 3 for 3 with an RBI and Tyler McGough went 2 for 3. Rabel hit a sixth-inning single as Pennsylvania built some momentum for Saturday’s game by scoring a run on a fielder’s choice and throwing error.

Chase Link also threw well in relief, not allowing a hit in 1.3 perfect innings of relief. He also struck out three of the five batters he faced.

“Beau Rabel did a great job. He took good approaches in batting practice and we were ready for the moment,” McGough said. “It just got away from us that one inning but, going into the rest of the tournament, we’re excited.”

Hollidaysburg started the game the way it ended the Mid-Atlantic Regional when it outscored Washington D.C., and Delaware, 20-3. Brody Dull retired the first six batters he faced and first-inning RBI singles by Braden Hatch and Rabel had Hollidaysburg up 2-0 in front of 18,352 fans in the bottom of the first inning.

Texas scored twice in the third and tied the game, 2-2 on RBI singles from Ethan Richardson and Kaiden Shelton. Hollidaysburg nearly regained the lead in the bottom of the inning after Jackson Boob was hit by a two-out pitch and moved to second on a wild pitch.

Rabel drove a single into center field and McGough waved pinch runner Nathan Phillips home. Landon Karel made a super, no-hop throw to catcher Ford Hill, but Phillips circled around home to avoid the tag. The home-plate umpire, however, said that Phillips went out of the base line and called him out.

Texas broke things open in the fifth when it sent 10 batters to the plate and produced five hits in its six-run inning. Jacob Zurek hit a go-ahead RBI single. Jackson Wolfe and Karel then provided the big blows, hitting a two-run single and two-run double, respectively. After Hollidaysburg opened the inning with a strikeout, seven straight Texas batters reached base.

“Overall, it’s something we’ll learn from,” McGough said. “We talk a lot about how we respond and we’ll use this as a learning moment and we’ll see them grow from there. We look forward to the next game and the next opportunity.”

That comes Saturday and Hollidaysburg will have all its pitchers eligible to throw. If Hollidaysburg were to win that game, it would play again Sunday before heading to Bowman Field and hanging out with Major Leaguers before the Orioles play the Red Sox.

“The kids are up,” McGough said. “We got the chance to throw three kids on the mound and we moved some kids around to play different positions. We’re excited for Saturday.”

SOUTHWEST (8): Zurek ss 422, Shelton 3b-p 311, Wolfe 2b 211, Karel cf 311, Cummings 1b 200, Hill c 100, Castillo ph 200, Clark lf-3b 111, Arbaugh ph 100, Richardson eh 201, Mayberry ph 111, Kahn p-lf 100, Hartman ph 211. Totals — 25-8-9.

MID-ATLANTIC (3): McGough ss 211, Link 3b-p 300, Detrick lf-rf-lf 210, Hatch c 301, Boob rf 100, Phillips lf-cf-3b 010, Rabel 2b 303, Metzger 1b-lf 200, Dively rf 100, Dull p-1b 300, Anderson cf-p-cf 201. Totals — 22-3-6.

SCORE BY INNINGS

Southwest 002 060 — 8 9 1

Mid-Atlantic 200 001 –3 6 0

DP–Southwest 1, Mid-Atlantic 1. LOB–Mid-Atlantic 5. 2B–Karel, Zurek. RBI–Wolfe 2, Karel 2, Zurek, Shelton, Richardson, Hatch, Rabel. HBP–Phillips (by Kahn). WP–Shelton. LP–Anderson. SO–Kahn 7, Shelton 3, Dull 1, Anderson 2, Link 3. BB–Kahn 2, Shelton 1, Dull 1, Anderson 2, Link 1. Wild pitch–Kahn, Link 2, Anderson.

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