The Little League World Series has seen its share of teams making storybook runs through the tournament. This season, Peachtree City American Little League has added their name to the list of squads to amaze fans in Williamsport, Pa.
Peachtree City added another chapter to their story by defeating Grosse Pointe, Michigan 4-3 on Wednesday. This was Peachtree City’s third victory in an elimination game as they now move on to the U.S. Championship semifinals on Thursday.
Jansen Kenty took the ball for Peachtree City and turned in a complete game against Michigan. He went six innings, allowing three runs on three hits. He also struck out nine batters and recorded 14 first-pitch strikes.
Michigan had a tough time connecting on his fastball. The heater topped out at 75-mph, which is equivalent to a 95-mph pitch in the Major Leagues. Of his four hits allowed, two were solo home runs that he left over the plate to Michigan’s Oliver Service and Jarren Purify.
However, Kenty settled down and kept his opposition off balanced. Over his last 11 1/3 innings, Kenty has allowed three runs and collected 20 strikeouts. He capped his final LLWS start with a strikeout of Brennan Hill to end the game.
“I felt really good when I got that final out,” Kenty said. “I had a lot of pressure as they had a really good hitter up. I just stayed calm and did my thing.”
Peachtree City made sure to back Kenty with just enough run support. In the first inning, they jumped out to a 2-0 lead behind a 2-run single from Jack Ryan.
Ryan jumped on a fastball and sent it into right field. He drove in Peete and Kenty, who reached on a walk and an error to start the inning.
Michigan quickly tied the game after taking advantage of Peachtree City catcher Chase Fralick’s misplay of a foul pop up. This gave Michigan another shot to swing and Service took advantage by depositing a changeup into the left field seats.
The score remained tied at 2-2 until Peachtree City made another charge. In the second inning, Will Clem ignited the offense with a leadoff single to right field. He advanced to second as James Hooper walked. A batter later, Wills Maginnis gets on with a bunt single to load the bases.
This set up Peete to collect an RBI after getting hit on the elbow with a fastball. After regaining the lead, Fralick made it a two-run advantage with an RBI groundout to second base.
“The top of our order has really carried us through the region,” Peachtree City coach Patrick Gloriod said. “We saw a lot of good pitching in the mid 70s and it took a little while for our lower hitters to figure it out. In this tournament, they have started to do that and it’s really been a big difference to why we are still here.”
Michigan drew closer on Purify’s home run in the third inning. It wouldn’t be enough as Peachtree City started to pound the strike zone with fastballs. The strategy worked as they improved to 3-1 in the LLWS.
“Everything was just there and they were standing too far off the plate that they couldn’t touch it,” Fralick said. “It was too quick for them.”
Peachtree City will face the loser of the New York and Hawaii matchup on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.
“This group is amazing,” Peachtree City shortstop Tai Peete said. “The fact that we can make it all the way here through district, state and regionals to win means a lot.”