Wyatt Koch hit a three-run home run to break a scoreless tie in the fourth inning as Clinton County, Pennsylvania, beat Paramus, New Jersey, 5-2 in the conclusion of the Mid-Atlantic regional final, earning a trip to the Little League World Series.
The two teams resumed play today in Bristol, Connecticut, after the game was suspended by rain yesterday heading into the fourth inning. Paramus pulled within one run in the top of the fifth before Keystone put the game away with two runs in the bottom of the inning.
Clinton County is the final team to reach the Little League World Series, to be played in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, from Aug. 18 to Aug. 28. The 16-team tournament, run by Little League Baseball Inc., involves eight regional U.S. champions and eight international champions, with players from 11 to 13 years old.
South Williamsport is 27 miles (44 kilometers) east of Lock Haven, the home of the Clinton County team. American teams have won 32 titles since the event began in 1947. Japan is the defending champion, beating a team from Hawaii last year.
The game’s delay yesterday meant Paramus pitcher Hirokazu Mitzutani was unavailable for today’s continuation. Mitzutani, 12, started the game yesterday, allowing no hits and striking out five in three innings.
He threw 43 pitches before the rain delay, three more than the maximum that would allow him to pitch again on one day’s rest. Another Paramus pitcher, Connor Heim, was not allowed to pitch in the final because he threw a complete game in a semifinal victory on Aug. 12.
Clinton County, which went 12-1 to win the Pennsylvania championship, was 6-0 in Mid-Atlantic group play, outscoring opponents 48-12. They will play the Great Lakes champions, La Grange, Kentucky, in the first round of the tournament Aug. 19.
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