TAYLOR, Mi. — The Elk-McKean Junior League All-Stars lost a heartbreaker to California in the opener of the World Series Sunday, falling 2-1 in nine innings at Heritage Park in Taylor, MI.
Elk McKean executed a double steal in the top of the second to score the game’s first run and go ahead 1-0 early.
Domenic Allegretto reached on a fielder’s choice and later moved to second on a throwing error by the California pitcher.
A single to left field by Kaden Dennis gave Elk-McKean runners on the corners with two outs in the inning.
The East champions then put on a double steal, as Dennis was safe at second, while Allegretto came in to score the first run of the World Series.
Elk-McKean held their one-run lead into the bottom of the sixth, before the Manhattan Beach Little Leaguers got on the board to tie the game.
Ryan Lee drew a walk to start the inning and was replaced by pinch runner Charlie Webb.
Connor Meidroth then drew the second walk of the frame to give California two runners on with just one out in the inning.
The West champions then executed a double steal of their own, as Webb advanced to third and Meidroth moved to second on the play.
Ben Gneiser followed by grounding out to Aiden Zimmerman at short, which allowed Webb to come in to score the tying run.
Despite surrendering the tying run, Ethan Wells had a stellar performance on the mound.
Wells pitched 5 1/3 innings without allowing a hit, surrendering the one earned run on just three walks and a pair of strikeouts.
The game remained tied after the seventh and headed to extra innings.
Elk-McKean looked to take the lead in the top of the eighth, as Camron Marciniak led off by reaching on a two-base error.
Marciniak then advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt laid down by Harley Morris for the first out of the inning.
Wells walked to put runners on the corners with one away in the frame.
Allegretto then grounded to third, as California third baseman Addison Lee threw Marciniak out at home to keep the game tied.
A popup ended the inning for Elk-McKean, as the game remained tied heading to the ninth.
In the top of the inning, Elk-McKean was retired in order as California looked for a walk-off victory.
Jackson Shea led off the bottom of the ninth for California with a single to right field, then stole second and reached third on an error with no outs in the inning.
Addison Lee then hit a grounder to Zimmerman at short, who threw Shea out at home as he attempted to score the walk-off run.
Ian Draves was then hit by a pitch and Matthew Field reached on a walk to load the bases with just one out.
Namath Hogan then singled to score Addison Lee and secure the 2-1 victory in nine innings for California.
California will now face the host team Michigan in a winner’s bracket game today at 8 p.m.
Elk-McKean will await the loser of today’s Georgia-Texas game in an elimination game Tuesday at 8 p.m.