Monday at the Little League World Series brought with it plenty of tension, as it was set to be elimination day for four teams—two from the United States and two from the World side of the bracket.
That made Day 5 at the LLWS a win-or-go-home scenario since each of the teams in play already had a loss. Below is a look back at all of the results, a recap of the games and a glimpse ahead at what's next for the teams that survived.
|LLWS Day 5 Scores|
|Team 1||Result||Team 2|
Illinois Prevails in 8-7 Slugfest Over Rhode Island
Pierce Jones, Thursday's three-home-run hero, set the early offensive tone with a leadoff shot off CJ Davock, and he teammates followed suit with eight runs on 12 hits to pace Illinois in a thrilling 8-7 win over Rhode Island.
Trey Hondras powered a four-run second inning for the Great Lakes squad with a three-run homer, while Joshua Houston added three hits and a pair of RBI.
After Rhode Island crawled back from a big early deficit to take a 7-6 lead on a Trey Thibeault home run, Illinois rallied in the fifth before Houston provided the game-winning RBI single.
In addition to his homer, Thibeault pinched 1.2 scoreless innings in relief, giving up three hits and striking out two in the loss.
Illinois is now 2-1, while Rhode Island is eliminated from play.
Venezuela Squeaks by Puerto Rico in Pitching Duel, 2-1
It took absolute pitching gems from Ronny Medina and Diomel Bracho, but Venezuela survived Puerto Rico, winning 2-1.
The former went five innings, giving up one run (no earned) on two hits and a walk while striking out nine. The latter mopped things up, pitching a perfect sixth with a strikeout to preserve the win.
Puerto Rico's pitchers didn't exactly disappoint. Joel Santos wasn't at his best but certainly didn't stink up the joint, either, lasting 3.2 innings and striking out seven despite allowing two runs on two hits and four walks. Edward Gonzalez came on in relief and was basically un-hittable, allowing just one hit and no walks while striking out three in his 2.1 innings of work.
But by the time he was inserted into the game, Venezuela had already done their damage. Julio Rejon smacked a first-inning home run—though Yadiel Santana evened things up in the bottom of the first on a past ball.
But Venezuela took the lead for good in the top of the second, when Greybell Salom scored on an error. That's when the pitchers settled in and took over the game for both teams.
Venezuela will now face Mexico in another elimination game, while Puerto Rico's tournament is over.
Texas Holds Off Washington, 11-4
Every time Washington got close, Texas pulled away. Every time Washington rallied, Texas had an answer of their own. In the end Washington couldn't mount a final comeback and was eliminated from the tournament, as Texas won 11-4.
After going down 5-0, Washington was able to push across three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Texas answered with their own run in the top of the fifth, but Washington equaled that tally in the bottom half of the inning.
But with Washington's pitchers struggling to find the plate in the top of the sixth, Texas was able to push five runs across and put an end to Washington's comeback hopes.
Layne Roblyer (one home run, three RBI, two runs on a hit and a walk) and Bryce Laird (three runs) were the heroes for Texas on offense, while Brandon Sliwinski and Landon Donley combined to give up four runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out nine.
Texas got out to a quick start, as Michael Groover scored as Clayton Broeder was caught trying to steal second in the first. They struck again in the top of the third, as Roblyer ripped a three-run dinger—his second homer in the past two days—and in the top of the fourth, as Christian Terranova scored on a passed ball.
That would ultimately be enough, though Washington would push across runs in the next two innings. The Texas bats simply wouldn't be denied in this game, however.
Texas will now face the winner of the Illinois vs. Rhode Island, while Washington has been eliminated.
Mexico Rolls Past Australia, 6-2
For two innings, Australia looked as though it was on its way to advancing to the next stage of the LLWS. But in the third, Mexico awoke.
After trailing 2-0, Mexico went on to score six unanswered runs, led by Erick Vela's three-run blast in the bottom of the fourth. Meanwhile, Aldair Tellez was brilliant on the mound, giving up just two runs (one earned) on seven hits and no walks while whiffing 12 Australian batters.
And we can't forget about the smallest man on the field, Ruy Martinez, who went 3-for-3, scoring two runs and surprising everyone in attendance when he crushed a solo home run to dead center in the bottom of the fifth.
He made a new fan as well, as Adam Eaton of the Chicago White Sox tweeted about the young player during the game:
He also reacted to his home run:
Just in case you weren't familiar with the diminutive Martinez, SportsNation on Twitter had him stand next to Erick Figueroa of Puerto Rico:
He may be small, but he sure has a big swing.
Still, Australia was the better team early on. Blake Monaghan opened the scoring in the top of the first, scoring on a Nicholas Riley single and a Mexico error. A Javier Pelkonen single scored Etienne Charette in the top of the second, and Australia had itself a 2-0 lead.
Mexico rallied in the bottom of the third, however, cutting the lead in half when Encarnacion Gonzalez scored on a wild pitch. And it blew things open in the bottom of the fourth when Vela ripped his three-run shot, and a Daniel Quiroz single plated Luis Rodriguez to give Mexico a 5-2 lead.
Martinez jacked his homer in the next inning, and Australia couldn't mount a comeback.
It was a tough outing for Callum Johnson, who went the distance but gave up all six runs on 10 hits and a walk while striking out three.