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Torrance All-Stars Fall To Honolulu In Little League World Series West Region Championship

Five baseballs with red stitching and a Little League Workd Series emblem rest on a towel.
Baseballs sit on a ledge during the 2019 Championship Game of the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
(Rob Carr
/
Getty Images)
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In a battle between Southern and Northern California, the Torrance All-Stars on Friday beat the team from Petaluma 6-0 and clinched their spot in the Little League World Series.

  • Note: Only U.S. teams are competing this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. That means two teams from each of the eight U.S. regions get to compete in the tournament.

That win put them into the West Region Championship game against Honolulu on Saturday where Torrance fell 7-2.

By then, the the team had already come back from a loss in the regional opener to win the elimination bracket. We'll have more on Saturday's game below, but first, the game they won that made them the first L.A. County baseball team in nearly 30 years to earn a trip to Williamsport.

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The importance is not lost on Javier Chavez, the Torrance team manager.

"That's that's what makes this one so special, because it's been since 1994 that an L.A. County team actually has even gone to Williamsport. So these kids weren't even born yet," he said.

Torrance Vs. Petaluma

Friday's game was scoreless through six innings, which is little league regulation play. So it was on to extra innings to decide who got the last of two slots for the West Region.

In the top of the 7th inning and with two outs, the 11- and 12-year olds from Torrance scored their first run when the Petaluma pitcher walked a batter with the bases loaded.

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After that, Torrance just ran away with the game. Andrew Nuruki kickstarted the rout with a two-run RBI.

The team was on a roll, getting hits and stealing bases. The sixth and final run came on an error, when a throw by the Petaluma pitcher got past his target and rolled into the outfield.

Torrance pitcher Gibson Turner dominated with 15 strikeouts. He didn’t allow a single hit until the sixth inning.

It had been a rocky start in the West Region tournament with Torrance losing in the opener and then fighting all the way back to the championship game.

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Here's a look at the final out, published on the Torrance Little League's Facebook page:

The last L.A. County team to make it to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania was from Northridge in 1994. That team lost to little leaguers from Maracaibo, Venezuela.

Torrance vs. Honolulu

Saturday's game contesting the West Region Championship didn't go as well. Torrance was ahead early in the game, holding a 2-0 lead through the first two innings. But Hawaii came back scoring one run in the third inning, and three more in each of the 4th and 5th innings for a 7-2 win over Torrance.

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Chavez said he used the team's top pitcher, Skylar Vinson, for the first three innings, then rested his arm for World Series games to come, and giving other pitchers a turn getting valuable experience in a big game.

The team flies out Sunday to Williamsport with a first game set for Thursday evening against New Hampshire, he said.

Once there, the team's lodging is covered by the league and the team will be outfitted in all sorts of new equipment like new uniforms, gloves, bats and helmets.

The importance of being the first Los Angeles County team to get to the Little League World Series tournament is not lost on Chavez.

"That's that's what makes this one so special, because it's been since 1994 that an L.A. County team actually has even gone to Williamsport. So these kids weren't even born yet," he said.

Tickets were limited to family and friends — just 250 for each team at Houghton Stadium in San Bernardino, which can seat 8,000.

The pressure wasn't as intense as Friday’s game: both teams already earned their trip East, where 16 teams from around the country will vie for the title. Play begins on August 19 and Torrance will face a team from New Hampshire.

As with the regional games, general admission has been canceled due to the surge in COVID cases. Teams will get 250 tickets for each game.

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Updated August 14, 2021 at 1:16 PM PDT
This story was originally published on Friday at 5:30 p.m. and was updated following the outcome of Saturday's game.