Eastlake Little League reaches U.S. semifinals
Team from Sammamish holds off Urbandale, Iowa, 6-5 to move two games from U.S. final in Little League World Series.
Special to The Seattle Times
Sammamish vs. Tennessee, 5 p.m., ESPN2
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Jacob Dahlstrom is just fine.
The Eastlake Little League all-stars from Sammamish are even better.
Dahlstrom returned a day after taking a wicked line drive off his right knee to go 4 for 4 with two runs batted in and Will Armbruester recorded a game-ending strikeout with the tying run at the plate as Sammamish defeated Urbandale, Iowa, 6-5 at Monday’s Little League World Series.
Sammamish eliminated Iowa and advanced to Tuesday’s U.S. semifinals. It plays Nashville, Tenn., at 5 p.m. The winner of that game is two victories away from playing in the national championship.
“I was hitting good in batting practice before the game,” Dahlstrom said. “I knew I was going to get hits.”
Prior to Monday morning, he was not sure he would even play.
Dahlstrom was questionable to play after taking a line drive off his right knee while pitching in the second inning against Westport, Conn., Sunday afternoon. He was on crutches after the game but came back strong, and his RBI single capped a two-run rally in the top of the first inning that Jack Carper and Dalton Chandler ignited with consecutive doubles.
Dahlstrom added an RBI single in the sixth inning that made it 5-2 and also played well at shortstop and third base, making several quality plays.
“It was awesome,” Dahlstrom said. “I was limping pretty bad (Sunday) but I was able to walk on it this morning and it felt good.”
“He’s been our workhorse all year,” Sammamish manager Rob Chandler said.
Sammamish never trailed and led 6-2 in the bottom of the sixth before Iowa staged a furious comeback and made it a one-run game with two outs. Armbruester, though, quickly stifled the momentum, striking out the team’s No. 3 hitter.
“We were under a little bit of stress, but we were fine,” Chandler said. “We’re a good fighting team.”
Washington started strong, but Iowa pulled to 2-1 in the second inning. That momentum quickly swung back toward Sammamish when Dylan Matsuoka hit a clutch two-out, two-run third-inning single and stretched the lead to 4-1. Matsuoka was behind 0-2, but flared the next pitch into left field.
It was a big night for Matsuoka, who also made some outstanding plays at second base, highlighting it by robbing Grant Garwood of a third-inning single.
“It helps the team,” Matsuoka said. “I had been in a slump, and that helps with my confidence that I got a base hit.”
Iowa often threatened over the final three innings, but Chandler pitched great in relief and his defense kept turning it away.
Iowa put runners on second and third with no outs in the fourth inning, but scored only one run on Brenden Ball’s RBI grounder.
An inning later, Iowa loaded the bases with two outs. The go-ahead runs on base, Chandler remained calm and induced Brady Roberts into hitting into a fielder’s choice with Matsuoka fielding the grounder and flipping to Dahlstrom for the force.