Late rally falls short as District I drops World Series opener

EASLEY, S.C. — For six innings, District I struggled to score a run.

Finally, in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Kent County squad broke through with a pair of runs,

But it ended up being too little, too late as U.S. West hung on for a 3-2 victory over District I in the first game of the Big League baseball World Series on Tuesday afternoon.

District I reliever Tyler Collins, from Felton-Harrington, fires a pitch against U.S. West. (Submitted photo/Ginger Barkley)

District I reliever Tyler Collins, from Felton-Harrington, fires a pitch against U.S. West.

District I left the bases loaded as U.S. West pitcher Rylie Velez got a strikeout looking to end the contest.

The loss drops District I into the losers’ bracket on the U.S. side of the tournament in Little League’s division for 16-18 year olds.

District I, the U.S. East champion, plays again on Thursday at 4 p.m. against an opponent TBA. The U.S. West, from Kihei, Hawaii, plays again today at 4 p.m. against U.S. Central (Michigan).

U.S. West scored all three of its runs in the top of the fifth in a tough inning for District I. U.S. West bunched together three walks, a single and an error with two of its three runs coming home on sacrifice flies.

Those were the only three walks that District I surrendered in the game. Three pitchers — John Barkley, Tyler Collins and Dallas Willey — combined on a five-hitter.

District I, however, finished with just four hits. Camden-Wyoming’s Quinton Ivy had two hits with Cole Garey and Dillon Cole, both from Felton-Harrington, adding one hit apiece.

But District I finally got something going in the seventh.

District I coaches Brian Willey (left) and Kevin Turner talk with player Justin Jones during Tuesday’s game.

District I coaches Brian Willey (left) and Kevin Turner talk with player Justin Jones during Tuesday’s game.

After Dover’s Willey reached base on an error, Ivy doubled to centerfield, Garey then lined a dingle to center to score Willey.

When pinch runner Jordan Simpson scored on a groundout, District I had closed within 3-2 with two outs.

Semaj Kelly then walked and Brendan Davis was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Reliever Velez, though, got a strikeout on three pitches to get out of the jam.

District I stranded five runners on base in the game. There were only two extra-base hits, with one double by each team.

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