Pacific Little League rallies to upend Montana 10-4

Pacific Little League's Tai Starchman pitches against Montana during a Little League Western Regional game Sunday at Houghton Stadium in San Bernardino, Calif. (Photos by Michelle Corsi)

Pacific Little League’s Tai Starchman pitches against Montana during a Little League Western Regional game Sunday at Houghton Stadium in San Bernardino, Calif. (Photos by Michelle Corsi)

Note: Due to a change in the game schedule, Pacific Little League’s Monday game will not be broadcast at Hamburger Harry’s in downtown Edmonds. The team’s 7 p.m. Tuesday night game will be shown at Hamburger Harry’s as originally planned. All games are viewable on ESPN 3 (online only).

Pacific Little League kept fighting and fighting in Sunday’s Little League Western Regional tournament game against Montana.

Pacific rallied from 3-0 and 4-1 deficits to defeat Montana 10-4 in nine grueling innings at Houghton Stadium in San Bernardino, Calif.

“We were fortunate to come out on the winning side,” Pacific manager Robley Corsi II said. “It just took us a while. It was one of those days … We were finally able to settle down and make things happen.”

In the top of the ninth with the score tied at 4, Pacific loaded the bases on a hit-by-pitch (Ian Michael) and consecutive singles by Tyler Durbin and Karsen Tjarneberg. Michael scored on a wild pitch and then after a foul pop fly out, Durbin also made it home on another errant throw.

Read Carr then doubled to center to drive in Tjarneberg. Carr advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a double by Robley Corsi III. Colton Walsh followed with a double to drive in Corsi III. Logan Kruse then hit a double to score Walsh and give Pacific a 10-4 lead.

“It was a grueling nine innings,” coach Corsi II said.

Pacific Little League's Colton Walsh heads for second base.

Pacific’s Colton Walsh heads for second base.

Following back-to-back 8:30 a.m. games, the players were extremely tired after Sunday’s extra-inning contest.

“It took its toll,” the coach said of early morning games.

Weather permitting, Pacific faces Idaho at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 4 and then closes out Northwest Pool play against Wyoming at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 5. Those times are different from the announced schedule. Rain forced the rescheduling of some of Sunday’s contests, which meant Pacific’s game times were changed. Corsi II said that he heard it is the first time since 1983 that rain has disrupted the schedule.

Early on, Pacific’s prospects looked a little shaky when Montana took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning.

Walsh then led off the third with a walk, moved to second on a passed ball, stole third and scored on a wild pitch as Pacific cut the deficit to 3-1. Montana answered with a run in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead.

Pacific rallied for two more runs in the fifth to cut Montana’s advantage to 4-3. The inning included a 34-minute rain delay.

With Kruse on third and Michael on second, Tjarneberg hit a hard grounder to the pitcher that scored both Kruse and Michael.

Pacific Little League's Karsten Tjarneberg waits for the pitch.

Karsten Tjarneberg waits for the pitch.

In the fifth with one out, Ben Grant doubled to right field. He advanced to third on a ground out and then scored to tie the score at 4 when Michael stroked a double to center field.

Tai Starchman, who has been out with an injured arm/hand, pitched for the first time since July 2. He had three strikeouts and threw only 10 pitches in the first inning.

“It was great to see him out there,” Corsi II said.

Tjarneberg came in to relieve Starchman and pitched 4 1/3 innings of scoreless ball.

“He was fantastic,” Corsi II said. “He threw 69 pitches. It was great.”

Pacific’s offense didn’t get rolling until late in the game. The team only had three hits through five innings.

No one in the dugout was panicking, though.

“The thing that it came down to is that we never hung our heads,” Corsi II said. “We believed we were going to win and get back into this game. Slowly but surely we did. “

The top four finishers in the Northwest Pool advance to play in a single-elimination semi-final round on Aug. 7. Pacific (2-0) would be in a good position with a victory over Idaho (0-2) on Monday.

“They (Idaho) are going to be a tough team to beat tomorrow,” Corsi II said.

- By David Pan

Pacific Little League's Robley Corsi III is safe at second base.

Robley Corsi III is safe at second base.

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