TAYLOR, Mich. — The Elk-McKean Junior League All-Stars saw an impressive summer come to an end Wednesday afternoon, as they were eliminated at the World Series after a 5-3 loss at the hands of Illinois.
The loss was just the third of the season for the team, as they entered the World Series with a 15-1 record and end their summer with a 16-3 record.
Elk-McKean’s only other loss came at the hands of St. Marys in the district tournament, as tit went undefeated throughout the sectional, state and regional tournaments to reach the World Series.
The Warren Park Little Leaguers out of Chicago, Ill. led from start to finish in the elimination game, as they kept their season alive while knocking Elk-McKean out of the tournament.
Illinois was quick to get on the board, bringing across a run in the top of the first to take a 1-0 lead.
Ke’Sean Watson led the game off with a single to center field and later scored on another single to center field off the bat of Wyatt Attkisson.
After being retired in order in the first, Elk-McKean looked to tie the game in the bottom of the second.
Ethan Wells led the inning off with a line-drive single to left, but was caught stealing before the following two batters were retired to send the game to the third with Illinois leading 1-0.
Chicago doubled their lead with a run in the third, as Alex Vasquez reached on a one-out single and scored on a double to left by Attkisson.
Illinois continued their strong hitting into the fourth inning, adding a pair of runs to stretch their lead to 4-0.
Ollie Lopeztello reached on a one-out walk, then came around to score on a double to left field by Jake Bleeden.
Bleeden later scored on a RBI groundout from Watson to give Illinois a four-run advantage.
Elk-McKean got on the board and cut the deficit in half with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning.
After Illinois turned a double play for the first two outs of the frame, Wells drew a walk to get the rally started.
Wells stole second then scored Elk-McKean’s first run of the game when Domenic Allegretto singled to right.
Curtis Barner followed with a double to right field, scoring Allegretto to cut Illinois’ lead to 4-2 after the fourth.
In the fifth, Elk-McKean continued to cut into Chicago’s lead, as Kaden Dennis reached on a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch.
Aiden Zimmerman then drove Dennis in on a single to left to cut the deficit to one at 4-3.
Chicago responded with a run in the top of the sixth to push their lead back to two runs.
Joseph Perona led the inning off by singling to center, then advanced to third on a pair of stolen bases.
Nate Dancer followed by hitting a sacrifice fly to left to score Perona and put Illinois ahead 5-3.
The game remained 5-3 heading to the bottom of the seventh, as Collin Porter reached on a hit by pitch with two outs in the inning to bring the tying run to the plate.
Illinois pitcher Vasquez closed out the game by striking out the following batter to end the game.
Vasquez pitched a complete game to secure the win, allowing three runs on five hits while striking out three.
Illinois will now face elimination again today at 4 p.m. against California, with the winner advancing to Saturday’s United States championship game against Texas.