(WHITESTOWN, IN) — For the first time in history, a team from North Dakota has advanced to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA.
North Dakota, represented by the Fargo Little League team, defeated South Dakota, which was represented by Sioux Falls, 9-7 in Friday’s Midwest Regional Championship, held in Whitestown, Indiana. The two teams had met two days ago, with South Dakota topping North Dakota 7-3 in the semifinal round of the tournament. North Dakota redeemed themselves with a loser-out win over Iowa 12-7 on Thursday, setting up the rematch showdown against South Dakota.
North Dakota jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning, propelled by a three-run first inning. With two outs and a 2-2 count, William Korbl tripled to right field, scoring Cash Martinez and Jackson Molden. Two pitches later, Korbl scored on a passed ball.
North Dakota jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the second, before South Dakota countered with four runs in the bottom of the third to tie the game at 4-4.
North Dakota blew the game wide open in the top of the fifth inning, scoring five runs, led by Reese Evenson’s triple to right field, scoring Reed Holman and Brody Holmes. Evenson also scored on a throw to home plate, pushing North Dakota to a convincing 9-4 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth inning.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Harrison Nickels doubled to left, scoring the scoring the runner from second and narrowing the lead to four runs. On the second pitch of the next at-bat, Carter Chapman singled to shot, scoring the runner from third and making a three-run game with two outs. Ryan Henry then watched two pitches go past him for balls before singling on a fly ball to the infield, scoring Nickels from third.
Jacob McCloskey popped out to second base, which ended South Dakota’s hopes of knocking off North Dakota and sending them to Williamsport.
North Dakota finished the regional tournament with a 4-1 record.
The Little League World Series will be held in Williamsport, beginning August 16.