Giving up one hit in three World Series games isn’t half bad. The Little League Baseball team from Greenville, N.C. now owns that statistic.
Matthew Matthijs struck out 12 of 14 batters including the final 11 batters he faced to secure North Carolina’s 2-1 win over Texas in the Little League Baseball World Series Wednesday night.
With the win, North Carolina (3-0) moves on to compete for the U.S. championship at 3:30 p.m. Saturday against the winner of a lower-bracket Thursday matchup between Texas and the New England team from Fairfield, Conn.
The U.S. champion advances to face the international bracket winner at 3 p.m. Sunday for the Little League Baseball World Series title.
Matthijs claimed the win in the seventh inning, going 4 1/3 innings for the team from Greenville.
The win appeared sealed for North Carolina when Matthijs doubled in the bottom of the seventh, but coaches conservatively called Cash Daniels-Moye back to third base. The Lufkin, Texas team opted to walk Carson Hardee to load the bases before Thomas Barrett got the bat on the ball and Texas failed to make a play as Daniels-Moye scored the winning run.
Hardee gave North Carolina the early lead with a solo home run in the first inning. The team finished with seven hits.
North Carolina threatened to put the game away in the final inning of regulation, but Texas outfielder Collin Ross got a third out on a shot to the warning track by Bryce Jackson.
Chase Anderson pitched the first 2 2/3 innings for North Carolina. Hunter Ditsworth was the workhorse for Texas, with eight strikeouts in 88 pitches spanning five innings.
The Greenville team opened the series issuing a pair of no-hitters, one a perfect game.
Texas, which entered the game the only other undefeated team in the U.S. bracket, ended that streak at 13 innings on a first-pitch double by Mark Requena in the third inning.
The Greenville boys opened World Series play with a perfect game on Friday, winning 6-0 over the Midwest.
They nearly repeated perfection in a 16-0 walloping of the West squad on Sunday, but settled for the honor of being the first U.S. team to record back-to-back no-hitters in Little League World Series history.
They are the first North Carolina team ever to open the series with two or more wins.