The North State All Stars went a little beyond just winning their Little League Baseball World Series debut in Williamsport, Pa., Friday night. They were perfect.
The Southeast Region champs from Greenville, N.C. shut out the Midwest team from South Dakota, 6-0, with three pitchers refusing to give up a base. Chase Anderson claimed the win, striking out four over three innings. Matthew Matthijs tossed two and two-thirds innings, and Carson Hardee denied the final Midwest batter.
“They’ve done it all summer,” team manager Brian Fields said in a postgame press conference. “They throw strikes, they work the strike zone, they change speeds, they get ahead of hitters, and that’s what you need to do in Little League.”
As the flawless game progressed, the Southeast coaches were careful not to hex the good things going for the team.
“(It’s) that old superstition of not jinxing it, so we weren’t saying anything about it,” said Jake Allen, one of the team’s coaches. “I actually told two guys in the dugout to not say anything about it. But, as soon as Carson got the strike-three call, I tapped coach Mike Vaughn and said, ‘Perfect game, buddy.’ They were pumped to be a part of it and really took credit as a group.”
It was the first perfect game in the Little League World Series since 2008, according to ESPN, which broadcast the game live.
After the game, Hardee said he was well aware of the situation prior to getting the final out.
“(I was) a little bit nervous, but I felt comfortable considering those guys (Anderson and Matthijs) had just done it,” he said at the press conference.
Hardee also made a diving catch near second base in the bottom of the fifth inning that was featured as one of the SportsCenter Top 10 Plays.
The Southeast team had a four-run third inning and finished with eight hits, including two each from Thomas Barrett and Drew Fields.
The team moves on for a 2 p.m. game Sunday against the West team from Southern California.