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Whalley wins another nail-biter, stays alive in Little League World Series

Whalley Major Allstars will live to play another day at the Little League World Series.

The Surrey-based team, playing as Team Canada, scored a 6-4 win Monday at the fabled baseball tournament, in an elimnation game against a squad representing Mexico.

It was another nail-biter, as Mexico loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth and final inning, but relief pitcher Nate Colina shut the door.

With the win, Team Canada now faces the Caribbean reps (from Guayama, Puerto Rico) on Tuesday (Aug. 21), starting at noon Pacific time (3 p.m. PST). On the line will be a berth in the International bracket semifinal, set for Thursday.

Monday’s game against Mexico was played at Volunteer Stadium in Williamsport, PA.

Team Canada jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning with some solid hitting and aggressive baserunning.

In the top of the second, with the bases loaded and two out, Kai Sheck tripled to put Team Canada ahead 5-0.

Starting pitcher “Sweet Swang” Ian Huang got out of a jam in Mexico’s half of the second inning, limiting the damage to a single run to keep it 5-1 for Team Canada.

In the third, Jordan Jaramillo ripped a double up the foul line to score Dio Gama from second base.

Later that inning, Mexico scored a three-run homer to make it 6-4 for Whalley, and that was it for scoring.

On Saturday, in a “do or die” game following an opening-game loss the night before, Whalley won a nailbiter in extra innings to avoid elimination. Team Canada beat Spain 2-1 in dramatic fashion, winning in the bottom of the 10th inning when Joey Marino drove in Nate Colina to score the winning run with a hard single up the middle.

• READ MORE: Surrey stays alive in Little League World Series with dramatic walk-off win.

Saturday night’s pitching duel was the fourth elimination game in Little League World Series to go 10 innings since 2001 and the first since 2007.

On Friday, Canada fell 8-3 to a big, strong team from Panama in their opening game in Williamsport.

• READ MORE: ‘Do or die’ time for Whalley, who fell in first game of Little League World Series.

Team Canada plays in the International bracket, which includes seven other teams. A total of 16 teams play at the Little League World Series, a 10-day tournament that concludes this coming Sunday (Aug. 26) with a championship game between the U.S. and International pool winners.

CLICK HERE for the full schedule at the Little League World Series.

Whalley’s 13-player roster includes Joey Marino, Andre Juco, Kai Sheck, Ian Huang, Zeaden Pleasants, Nate Colina, Colten Myers, Jaren Ashbee, Ty Grewal, Cole Balkovec, Dio Gama, Jordan Jaramillo and Mattias Brisson. They’re coached by Mike Marino, Lucky Pawa and Dean Mayencourt. Players and coaches on the team live in neighbourhoods across Surrey and North Delta.

On Sunday, the Whalley players, along with parents and coaches, made the eight-hour bus trip from Mirabel to Williamsport for games played at a baseball complex that includes the 3,300-seat Howard J. Lamade Stadium and the smaller Volunteer Stadium.

In Quebec, during the Canadian Little League Championship, the Whalley squad went undefeated in eight games to win the national title on Aug. 11. They capped the tourney with a 11-0 victory over Team Atlantic (Glace Bay), in a game called after four innings due to the “mercy” rule of scoring 10 runs more than the competition.

The team, during a summer to remember, booked its trip to Quebec on July 28 after winning the provincial title in Trail with a 6-1 victory over Lynn Valley.

This is the sixth time Whalley Little League has earned a trip to Williamsport (previously in 1973, 1978, 1997, 2005 and 2006), and the 21st time that a team from British Columbia has earned the nod, including 13 of the last 14 tournaments.

Last summer in Williamsport, a team from White Rock opened the Little League World Series with a 12-2 win over Team Italy. The team eventually placed third in the International bracket of the tourney. The 2017 Team Canada finished with a 2-2 record, first beating Italy and Venezuela (7-3), followed by losses to Japan (10-0) and Mexico (6-2).

Tom Zillich

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