WILLIAMSPORT, P.A. — In a game that was decided by pitching, South Dakota was unstoppable, winning its first game of the Little League World Series in a 2-0 shutout over Louisiana.
Gavin Weir, who threw a perfect game in the Midwest regional tournament, added a World Series no-hitter to his resume in another exceptional performance on the mound. He struck out all three batters in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Weir had 15 strikeouts in 5⅔ innings, before Cason Mediger came in to close out the win.
“Going through my mind was ‘I just need to throw strikes and not worry about anything and just focus on one thing at one time,' ” Weir said. “I felt a little pressure — I mean, in the bottom of the sixth I walked the first guy in four pitches — but I just settled down, and I knew I could do it.”
Mediger finished out the game after Weir threw 85 pitches, the maximum allowed by Little League rules. Because he threw more than 66 pitches, he will be required to rest for four days from pitching, so he will not be on the mound for South Dakota’s next game Sunday against Oregon. However, there is no rule preventing pitchers from playing a different position during their rest days, so Weir could potentially still play on Sunday.
South Dakota head coach Mike Gorsett said Maddux Munson will be the team’s starting pitcher against Oregon.
“Maddux is our number two,” Gorsett said. “He’s another one that’s thrown multiple no-hitters for us this postseason run, and like Gavin, he’s definitely a team leader, so he’ll get the ball for us on Sunday.”
Louisiana pitcher Nick Brown gave Weir a run for his money. He had eight strikeouts and only allowed four hits, but the two runs he gave up ultimately decided the game when Louisiana failed to earn a run.
Boston Bryant scored the first run of the game in the top of the first off a pop fly from Noah Kuenzi. Bryant started off the series with a single, then took second on a passed ball and third on a rogue pitch. Bryant showcased his speed a second time in the third, taking both second and third on a rogue pitch.
Brekken Biteler notched South Dakota's second run of the day in a similar fashion in the sixth inning. He made it to first on a pop-up single, then took second on an errant pitch and third on a groundout by Bryant. Weir cemented his status as the game's MVP by bringing Biteler home on a groundout of his own.
The victory marks the first time Sioux Falls has ever won a non-consolation round game at the Little League Baseball World Series.
This is Sioux Falls' second time in the Series, the first was in 2017 and the team went 0-3.
“It was enormous for us, getting two runs on the board,” Gorsett said. “You feel really good with Gavin on the mound, so that's kind of been our motto all year long to say, ‘Let's see if we can go get him three (runs).’ I feel really good. That team (Louisiana) is really good.”
South Dakota will play again on Sunday against Oregon, which beat Pennsylvania 8-0 on Thursday.