Hamilton West Side entered the final frame of Wednesday's elimination game against New Hampshire ahead 4-0 with just three outs from a no-hitter for pitcher J.J. Vogel. It survived a 4-3 comeback scare that saw the tying run reach base.
Vogel had faced just four batters over the minimum with 11 strikeouts with a chance at the no-hitter. That chance ended after a lead-off double and then Vogel's day on the mound ended after a walk that pushed him to the 85-pitch limit.
Kaleb Harden entered to pitch and his first throw was a three-run home run to Calen Lucier, cutting Hamilton's lead to one. A good play on a fly ball to right fielder Chance Retherford and two strikeouts from Harden ended the threat and left Hamilton as one of six teams remaining.
Harden took the one-inning save while Vogel picked up the win with one hit, three walks and 11 strikeouts over five innings.
Hamilton led 2-0 in the top of the sixth where it scored two insurance runs that proved to be the game-winning runs.
Chase Moak singled to begin the inning and Levi Smith followed with a walk to put the first two runners on. After a flyout to short, Krew Brown singled to score Moak and move Smith to third. Smith scored on a sacrifice fly from Harden.
Hamilton and New Hampshire were scoreless after two innings, but the West Siders broke through in the third inning.
Brown doubled to lead off and moved to third after a single by Harden. Retherford singled to score Brown and then Vogel had a sacrifice fly to send Harden home.
Hamilton moves on to play Thursday at 7 p.m. on ESPN against the loser of California and South Dakota, two teams that had remained undefeated up to their game.
California has outscored both of its opponents by a combined 19-2, including a 9-0 win against Hamilton. California's first win of the World Series was against New Hampshire who it beat 10-2 on Aug. 19.
South Dakota's Gavin Weir has been the star of the Little League World Series with some power hitting and lights-out pitching.
Since the beginning of the district tournaments, Weir has struck out 100 batters while allowing no runs and just one hit in 37.2 innings.
Should Hamilton win on Thursday, it would guarantee at least two more games for the West Side All-Stars.
Hamilton would advance to the Tom Seaver division finals where a win would put Hamilton in the finals and a loss would send them to a consolation final.