U.S. semifinal matchups set
Texas stayed undefeated and will play Staten Island, N.Y., in one U.S. semifinal tonight, while California gets Warner Robins, Ga., in the other semifinal Thursday night.
Daves’ homer followed a two-run triple by Drew Brooks to put Texas up, 4-2.
California got a run back in the fourth before Willis’ shot to straightaway center gave Texas a three-run cushion. The 13-year-old outfielder stomped on third base in delight before getting high-fives from teammates at the plate.
Willis said with an ear-to-ear smile afterward that he wasn’t looking for the long ball.
“I just went up there with confidence. I felt that I wanted to get another base hit, make some contact,” Willis said.
Kiki Garcia’s two-run homer in the first had given California a 2-0 lead.
But it was the only homer allowed by Texas pitching, quite a feat given California had smacked 10 blasts in its previous two games.
California manager Oscar Castro said his team plans to hit the batting cage on its off day today after he noticed his players taking more unsuccesful upper-cut hacks.
“Maybe they’re going for the long ball,” he said. “We’re just trying to get those swings straightened out a little bit.”
Reliever Kyle Pollard got two strikeouts over the last two innings for the save.