SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — After a crushing extra-inning loss in the Little League World Series, Connecticut manager Tim Rogers expected his New England champions to rebound.
Boy, did they ever.
Chad Knight lined a run-scoring single to left field in the bottom of the seventh inning, and Westport, Conn., beat Northwest champion Sammamish, Wash., 14-13 in a wild game Friday to earn a spot in the U.S. championship game at the Little League World Series.
Knight also hit a solo homer to tie it in the fifth.
Connecticut beat Sammamish for the second time in a week to advance to play Chula Vista, Calif., on Saturday for a berth in the title game. Tijuana, Mexico, will face Tokyo for the international title. The World Series championship is Sunday.
Charlie Roof walked leading off to start Connecticut’s game-winning rally and Ricky Offenberg hit a one-out double down the left-field line. With five players manning the infield and playing in, Max Popken then hit a one-hopper that Washington shortstop Jack Carper stabbed with pinch-runner Christopher Drbal breaking for home.
Offenberg ran into Carper as the Washington player began to make a play for Drbal, who was tagged out in a rundown. Interference was called on Offenberg, leaving Drbal at third and Popken at first with two outs, and Knight followed with his winning hit, sending his teammates into delirium near the mound.
Washington, which won its state title at Luke Jensen Sports Park in Vancouver, scored 10 runs in the fourth on 11 hits to take what seemed like a commanding 12-5 lead, pounding a World Series record-tying eight straight hits off Connecticut starter Harry Azadian.
The barrage was stunning and matched the record set by Dominican Republic in 1992 and equaled by Chula Vista, Calif., in 2009.
Adam Carper, Dylan Matsuoka, Jack Carper, and Dalton Chandler each had RBI singles, and Will Armbruester added a two-run single. Zack Olson tripled home two more to complete the hit parade and also added a run-scoring double later in the inning.
Undaunted, Connecticut stormed back with seven runs in the bottom of the fifth, hitting three home runs to tie it at 13.
After Washington starter Chandler reached his pitch count and departed, Matt Stone singled, Matt Brown doubled off the left-field wall and Alex Reiner homered off Armbruester in relief.
Roof followed with a double off Jack Carper, Drew Rogers lined an RBI single to right, and Popken homered to right center. Knight followed with a long home run to left to tie the game.
Connecticut scored three runs in the bottom of the third, helped by three Washington errors, to take a short-lived 5-2 lead.
It was an impressive showing by Westport, which had to rebound from a crushing extra-inning loss to Chula Vista on Wednesday night. The Western champions won it on Grant Holman’s three-run homer in the top of the ninth.
“Being so close — at some point you’re going to lose. It would be rare not to,” Rogers said. “I expect them to compete and shake it off. I expect them to be competitive.”
In their first matchup in the World Series earlier in the week, Westport built a 9-2 lead over Sammamish through four innings, then hung on for a 9-7 win. Azadian had three hits and four RBIs in that one as Westport sent 12 batters to the plate and scored seven runs in the second inning.