Ascension Parish U12 dream run comes to an end
WACO, Texas - A wildly successful summer drew to a close on Tuesday for the Ascension Parish U12 Little League team, as it dropped the final game of the Southwest Regional by a score of 5-3 to a team from Texas.
The squad from the eastern side of the Lone Star State – calling Needville home – advances now to the Little League World Series championships in Williamsport, Pa., while the state champs from Gonzales, La., return home.
As was the case on Monday, when Ascension stormed back from a seven-run deficit in the final inning, the Louisianians found themselves in a hole late in the game.
This time, they couldn’t climb all the way out of it.
Things started promisingly. Ascension Parish jumped to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning, but the advantage was short-lived.
Needville claimed the lead in the fourth on a two-run home run that easily cleared the right center field wall. The Texans tacked on another pair of runs in the fifth inning to establish control of the game -- for the moment, at least.
In the bottom of the fifth, Ascension loaded the bases with two outs, and a single to left field brought home two runners, closing the gap to a score of 4-3.
Their scrappy persistence prompted ESPN announcers to note the "no quit" character of the team.
But a strikeout ended the inning without further scoring.
In the sixth and final frame, Needville loaded the bases – on two walks and a hit batter – with one out. After a pitching change, a sacrifice fly to center brought in an insurance run and Needville led 5-3.
Ascension brought the top of the order for its last at-bats, and a one-out walk set the potential game-tying run at the plate.
A questionable checked-swing strikeout followed. A walk then put runners on first and second with two outs.
A strikeout ended the game.
Ten teams from the United States and another 10 from around the world will play in the Little League World Series, which begins next week in Williamsport.