Three Encinitas pitchers limited Mountain Ridge to three hits, but seven walks, seven wild pitches and five errors proved to be the Southern California champions’ undoing.
Mountain Ridge, the Nevada state champion, advanced to Saturday’s West Regional championship game, where it will face the Pacifica American Little League all-stars, the Northern California champion, who defeated the Honolulu Little League all-star team, 1-0, in today’s other semifinal.
Saturday’s winner will qualify for the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Mountain Ridge scored two runs in the first inning, one in the third and another two in the fourth.
Encinitas trailed 5-1 in the top of the fourth inning but loaded the bases with one out to bring the tying run to the plate twice. But Mountain Ridge pitcher Austin Kryszczuk struck out Encinitas’ Finlay Lumsden and John Kraus to end the threat.
Kryszczuk pitched a six-inning complete game, striking out 11 batters while walking one, allowing five hits and an unearned run.
Mountain Ridge scored twice in the first without a hit, as Encinitas starter Nikola Ortega walked two batters, hit a third and threw two wild pitches.
With two outs, Brennan Holligan, who had grounded into a force out, advanced to second on catcher Austin Machado’s passed ball and moved to third on a wild pitch.
With Holligan on third and Bradley Stone, who walked, on second, Ortega threw another wild pitch, allowing Holligan to score. Machado threw wildly in an attempt to throw out Stone coming into third, allowing him to score the second run.
Encinitas scored its run in the bottom of the first. Kraus led off with an infield single and advanced to second on an error by Drew LaSpaluto, the Mountain Ridge second baseman. Kraus went to third on Kai Haseyama’s fly out and scored with two outs on a error by Holligan, the Mountain Ridge first baseman.
A Holligan single and two wild pitches gave Mountain Ridge its run in the third.
In the fourth, Dominic Clayton doubled in Justin Hauser, who reached on an error by Ethan Workinger, the Encinitas first baseman, and scored when Kryszczuk hit into a fielder’s choice.