SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — For the second straight day, a line drive found the glove of River Ridge, La., shortstop Stan Wiltz and a dog pile shook the infield at Lamade Stadium. Stan was fine with all that.
Nothing seemed to go wrong for the boys from River Ridge over the past week at the Little League World Series, and Wiltz’s catch ended the game and tournament Sunday, with the U.S. champions stopping Curacao 8-0 to win their state’s first LLWS title.
“It felt like my glove was a magnet,” said Wiltz, who got his team to the championship with a game-ending unassisted double play against Wailuku, Hawaii, on Saturday.
The team from suburban New Orleans fought back through the losers’ bracket after dropping its opening game of the tournament to Wailuku. River Ridge won six games in eight days, becoming the first team to win the LLWS after dropping its first game since the tournament expanded in 2001.
“People from New Orleans and Louisiana in general are very resilient type of people,” manager Scott Frazier said.
Frazier said he felt momentum shift for his team when it won its first game of the tournament against Salem, Ore. That win set the club up for victories over some of the tournament’s best teams — Elizabeth, N.J.; South Riding, Va.; Wailuku and Curacao.
“Once we won that game (against Salem), it was just a matter of getting on a roll,” Frazier said.
Pitcher Egan Prather pitched a two-hitter Sunday, throwing 88 pitches over six innings. His performance in the championship capped a solid tournament in which he picked up two victories and struck out 19 batters in 14 ⅓ innings.
“Everything worked for him today,” Frazier said.
The offensive breakthrough came in the fifth inning for River Ridge as the club representing the Southwest region scored four runs on four hits. Reece Roussel smacked an RBI double that was followed by Marshall Louque’s RBI single, his third hit of the day.
“We were going to get those guys, it was just a matter of time,” Frazier said. “We’ve been so locked in this whole time.”
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/River-Ridge-La-beats-Curacao-to-win-Little-14377867.php.