Start the partying in El Segundo, because the city’s baseball team of 11- and 12-year-olds has qualified for the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
With Lucas Keldorf delivering a two-run double in the first inning to stake pitcher Louis Lappe with a three-run cushion, El Segundo secured a 3-1 victory over San Ramon in the West Regional championship game on Friday night in San Bernardino.
Lappe struck out eight with one walk in 5 2/3 innings. When Lappe exceeded the 85-pitch count, Jaxon Kalish came on to get a fly out for the game’s final out.
El Segundo was the 20th and final team to earn a berth in the Little League World Series and will open play Thursday against the Great Lakes Regional champion. There are 10 teams from the United States and 10 international squads. The championship game is Aug. 27 on ABC.
Manager Danny Boehle, who played baseball at St. Bernard and is the younger brother of Loyola High volleyball coach Michael Boehle, has been thrilled with the community support for the team, that includes his son, Quinn.
“It’s been great,” he said. “It’s Little League at its finest.”
The first inning proved to be decisive. San Ramon loaded the bases with one out but Lappe got consecutive strikeouts to escape, including the final one on a 3-and-2 count. El Segundo then scored three runs, aided by Keldorf’s two-run double. Brody Brooks started the inning with a double.
Keldorf’s father, Chris, played quarterback at North Carolina.
Lappe had quite a three-game tournament. He went six for seven at the plate and allowed one run in 8 1/3 innings with 12 strikeouts.
El Segundo went unbeaten in the West Regional and ended up beating the Northern California representative, San Ramon, twice.
Brandon Manivong homered for San Ramon, his second of the week against El Segundo. He came on to pitch in the first inning and shut down El Segundo over the remaining four innings.