LLWS: Illinois rolls behind Jones' three homers
Moments after Chicago beat Lynnwood, Wash., on Thursday in the Little League World Series, outfielder Pierce Jones looked at his phone — and had to turn it off.
“I didn’t want to deal with all the notifications,” Jones said.
Jones had three homers and four RBIs in Jackie Robinson West’s 12-2 victory in five mercy-ruled innings.
Manager Darold Butler said the players on the all-black team hear about the support in and around Chicago, but that they haven’t grasped the magnitude.
“I know for a fact they don’t know how big it is, or what exactly is going on at home,” Butler said. “It’s just baseball to them.”
In the other U.S. game, Las Vegas beat Rapid City, S.D., 12-2 in five innings.
In today’s openers, Philadelphia will face Nashville, Tenn.; and Pearland, Texas, will meet Cumberland, R.I.
In International play, South Korea topped the Czech Republic 10-3, and Puerto Rico routed Australia 16-3 in four innings. In today’s action, Canada will play Guadalupe, and Japan will meet Venezuela.
Jones homered leading off in the first inning, and also tripled to finish with four hits. Shortstop Ed Howard added a two-run homer in the second inning.
Chicago scored five runs in the third inning. Logan Kruse relieved Ian Michael, and Chicago capitalized on a passed ball and other misplays behind the plate.
For Chicago, pitcher Joshua Houston settled down after Lynnwood scored two in the first. Houston went four innings, striking out seven and giving up two hits.
“We’re just trying to make the city proud. We’re trying to make the state proud,” Butler said. “From the batting practice we’ve been taking here and the comeback win that got us here, the kids have been very relaxed. ... I felt good going into this game.”
LAS VEGAS 12, RAPID CITY 2: Zach Hare hit a leadoff homer in the third inning to help Las Vegas rout the South Dakota entry in five innings.
Hare tied it at 2 with his homer to center field and finished 2-for-2 with four runs. Las Vegas added two more runs in the third, and Brennan Holligan had a two-run double in a four-run fourth.
Las Vegas starter Austin Kryszczuk had an RBI single in the fifth and Rapid City conceded three more runs, two on wild pitches and the other when a batter was hit by a pitch.
Kryszczuk went 2 2-3 innings. He struck out six and allowed two earned runs on three hits.
PUERTO RICO 16, AUSTRALIA 3: Abimael Torres hit a grand slam in a 13-run first inning and Puerto Rico rolled to an easy four-inning victory.
Torres homered to make it 6-0 after Puerto Rico scored two runs on five straight walks.
Oscar Lopez added a three-run homer in the third for Puerto Rico.
Joel D. Santos pitched two solid innings, striking out five and allowing one hit.
SOUTH KOREA 10, CZECH REPUBLIC 3: Jo Ho Park had a three-run homer in South Korea’s five-run fourth inning.
After Park’s homer off Patrik Kadronozka, Jae Yeong followed with a solo shot. South Korea starter Jae Yeong Hwang struck out eight in three innings.