Paul Gordon Collier- #Whynotus was battle cry this mighty team from Red Land began their journey with back in the PA District Tournament they would later win. #Whynotus carried them through to the PA Championship, the Mid-Atlantic Championship and US Championship. Not until they met a team from Japan would they taste defeat. But, despite the defeat, the path to the World Series Championship Game by a PA Team is worth telling. It is a tale of young men who overcame adversity, who stood in the face of pressure and met it square on.
It is a story that demonstrates how we live out the freedom we have been given, by taking responsibility, by honoring others around us and by standing in the face of pressure with unflinching resolve. Despite their loss to Japan, 18-11, this is a team that returns to PA as champions, as examples to what CAN be accomplished when you take the bat by the handle, square up and swing.
Four games and four wins for Red Land sent them to the World Championship Game in the Little League World Series Tournament. But the four games could not have been any different.
The first inning went through uneventfully, with neither side scoring any runs. The second inning, however, would see Red Land push 10 runners across the plate, with star pitcher Cole Wagner, along with Kaden Peifer, scoring inside-the-park home runs.
For good measure, Red Land piled on an additional 8 runs in the third. This game ended in the fourth inning after the mercy rule took effect. Jaden Henline, who threw 2 1/3rd scoreless innings got the win.
Next up for Red Land was Northwood, South Carolina on Sunday at 7pm. This game was featured on ESPN2. There would be no mercy rule in the second game, and the winner would not be evident until the last inning.
This game started out like just about every game has for the Patriots, with quick scoring early. Red Land sent three players across home plate in the first inning to take an early 3-0 lead. The second inning saw a repeat of the first, with Red Land opening up a commanding 6-0 lead. But South Carolina was not going to be like the previous opponents.
South Carolina’s pitching stiffened up, setting them up to begin a run in the fourth inning. Alex Edmondson launched a 3-run home run that moved South Carolina to 4 runs, just 2 runs behind at this point.
With two outs and nobody on in the top of the sixth, South Carolina scored 3 runs off of a bases-loaded clearing triple by Brock Myers, which was later followed by an RBI single by Gage Laymon, extending South Carolina’s lead to 8-6, the first time Red Land had ever been behind in a game. Myers was down to his last strike before hitting his bases-clearing triple.
Jaden Henline, who gave up the go-ahead runs in the top of the sixth, would redeem himself in the bottom of the sixth. Kaden Peifer started off the inning by connecting for a solo shot that moved Red Land to within one run of South Carolina. One out, two hits and one walk later, Jaden Henline took the plate down two runs with the bases loaded.
Henline hit a line drive down the left field line that sent two players across the plate, giving Red Land a hard-earned come-from-behind 9-8 win. The victory gave Red Land a chance to show that they could recover from disappointment and win.
Up next for Red Land was Pearland, Texas, who they faced Wednesday night, for the winner’s bracket final. This match-up would prove to be a pitcher’s dual between Red Land’s Adam Cramer and Pearland’s Jarret Tadlock.
Henline would open up the scoring with a 1st inning bloop single that scored one runner, giving Red Land, once again, the early lead 1-0. With two outs and nobody on, Cole Wagner launched a solo shot that added to Red Land’s lead, moving the score to 2-0.
By the end of 4 innings, Adam Cramer had racked up 10 strikeouts and kept Texas scoreless. He would add three more in the top of the fifth, striking out the side. With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, and bases loaded, the Red Land batter becomes the second batter to get hit by a pitch, with this hit scoring another run, giving Red Land a 3-0 lead going in to the top of the 6th.
Jared Henline would come in relief of Adam Cramer, who ended the game with 5 innings pitched, 0 earned runs and 13 strikeouts. Henline picked up where Cramer left off, striking out the side to send Red Land to the championship game.
Up next for Red Land in the Saturday US Championship game would be this same Texas team, who had to beat the California team in extra innings 9-7. The extra innings (a total of 8 innings) left Pearland without its three top pitchers going in to the Saturday US Championship game.
The first inning began for Red Land with a solo shot by Cole Wagner, giving Red Land the early lead in what would prove to be a pitcher’s duel.
Pearland would quickly answer in the top of the 2nd with an RBI single that plated one, tying the game at 1-1. The game would remain tied until the top of the 4th, when Pearland scored an RBI triple, pulling ahead 2-1.
The lead would not last long, however, as Redland struck at the top of the fifth with a Jaden Henline solo shot, knotting the game back up at 2-2.
The deciding moment would come in the 6th inning, with Cole Wagner first ending his complete game with 11 strikeouts and 2 earned runs.
With two men on, including one on third, Chayton Krause hit a base hit that sent the winning run to the plate for Red Land. The 3-2 victory gave Red Land the US Championship and sent them to the Sunday World Final against the team from Japan.
Our hats go off to the boys from Japan, who must have thought the same thing about their team when they started, #Whynotus. But we give an even bigger hat tip to the kids from the land of Patriots who gave all us us, not just the folks in Red Land, not just the folks in Pennsylvania, but the whole country, something to cheer about. Congratulations to the US Champions of the Little League World Series, the Red Land Patriots.