Little League: Conn. team advances to US final

Chad Knight celebrates after hitting the winning single, sending Westport (Conn.) to the US championship game.
Chad Knight celebrates after hitting the winning single, sending Westport (Conn.) to the US championship game.

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Chad Knight said he was on edge. It never showed as he laced the biggest hit of his young life.

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 US championship game at the Little League World Series.

‘‘I went to the plate and I was a little nervous, but then I realized it was just any other at-bat,’’ Knight said. ‘‘I just had to go out and put the ball in play. If we didn’t score, I knew Alex [Reiner] would get the next three outs and we would score in the eighth inning.’’


Westport 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. Mexico will face Tokyo for the international title. The World Series championship is Sunday.

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‘‘I was really just speechless because for us to compete and battle back was just amazing,’’ said Knight, who also hit a solo homer to cap a seven-run rally in the fifth that tied it at 13. ‘‘It was our biggest comeback all year.’’

Charlie Roof started the winning rally by drawing a leadoff walk and Ricky Offenberg hit a one-out double down the left-field line. With five Washington 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.

Washington scored 10 runs in the fourth on 11 hits to take a 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.

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, and Reiner homered off Armbruester in relief. Reiner’s was a three-run shot and it was a surprise — it was the first of his Little League career.

Roof followed with a double off Jack Carper, Drew Rogers lined an RBI single to right, and Popken homered to right center. Knight then homered to left to tie the game.