PORTLAND — The hits, they just keep coming for Snow Canyon. And the runs, too.
“We definitely knew we could hit and that it would come down to that,” Snow Canyon coach Markay Thorkelson said. “The girls are just swinging the bat. There’s something special about this team and their bats. They don’t fear anything coming at them.”
Wednesday, the Snow Canyon team took advantage of pitching wildness from the Asia Pacific team. Thursday, it was the shaky defense of the Little League team from Hampton in Victoria, British Columbia. The Canadians committed nine errors.
“We started playing small ball and they didn’t react very well,” Thorkelson said. “It was almost like they would freeze and not know what to do. We were kind of shocked that Canada didn’t handle it better.”
Just like on Wednesday, Snow Canyon jumped out on top very quickly, scoring seven runs in the first inning. But unlike Wednesday, Canada answered right back, scoring eight runs in the bottom of the first inning to take an early 8-7 lead. Sydney McCaul had two hits in the first inning, including a two-out, two-run single.
But Canada’s eight-run rally, with four hits and three walks, was enough to chase Snow Canyon starting pitcher Jenna Thorkelson. Tyler Mooring took over in the circle and did a nice job, allowing just one earned run over the final 5 2/3 innings.
“Jenna didn’t have a very good morning,” Markay Thorkelson said. “We could tell she was just a little bit off and when they started squeezing the strike zone on her, we knew we had to get her out. Fortunately, Ty jumped in there and did a great job. She really stepped up and did awesome.”
Snow Canyon retook the lead in the top of the second on a Kambrie Stuart RBI double and a squeeze bunt RBI by Anyssa Montano, but Canada tied it at 9-9 in the bottom of that inning when Mariah Grant scored on a passed ball.
The Utah squad went scoreless in the top of the third for the first time in the tournament, enabling Canada to take a 10-9 lead on an RBI by Robin Carey.
But that lead would not last long. In the top of the fourth, Jenna Thorkelson singled through the left side to score Mooring and tie it at 10-10. The next batter, Tavie Landis, hit a hot shot groundout to first that allowed Erin Gunn to scamper home from third with the go-ahead run.
In the fifth, Snow Canyon seized control of the game once and for all. Canada committed three errors in the inning and Utah was able to score six runs on just three hits. Ginny Deming had two singles in the inning and Emma Miller also had a base knock as the lead ballooned to 17-10.
Thorkelson and Miller had RBI walks in the sixth to provide a little extra insurance for Snow Canyon, which has a rest day on Friday before battling a team from Michigan on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (PST). The Central team has yet to play a game at the World Series. The first game for Central is later this afternoon.
In Pool B, defending champion Rowan Little League from North Carolina is 1-0 and has a rest day today before playing Central on Friday at 10 a.m. Rowan, representing the Southeast, beat Canada 16-2. Asia Pacific is 0-1 and Canada is 0-2. The top four teams advance to the quarterfinals on Monday.
In Pool A Oregon beat Latin America 8-4 and the team from Texas representing the Southwest defeated the Netherlands 19-4.
To follow all the scores and results, go here.
Snow Canyon is also scheduled to play a game on Sunday, however Coach Thorkelson informed the World Series committee before the tournament began that her team, for religious reasons, would not play on Sunday. Thorkelson said she tried to negotiate their bye, or rest day for Sunday, but the World Series officials had no interest in adjusting the schedule.
Thorkelson said Snow Canyon Little League held a team/parent meeting back in Utah before the tournament and it was decided that the team would take a forfeit in the Sunday game if the World Series committee would not adjust the schedule. A majority of the Snow Canyon team members are part of the LDS faith, which asks members to “keep the Sabbath day holy,” avoiding work and play on Sundays.
“That’s why we need to go out there and get these first three,” Thorkelson said.
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