Washington, Panama, Mexico win LLWS openers

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SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT – Dalton Chandler came on in relief and struggled for Sammamish, Wash., in its Little League World Series opener. Then he stepped up to the plate and turned things around.


“The hitting made me feel a little better. I was still a little nervous,” Chandler said.


Chandler allowed three runs before hitting a single, double and triple in four plate appearances, and Sammamish used four pitchers to beat Corpus Christi, Texas, 8-4, Thursday to advance to the second round.


Jack Carper had a home run among his three hits and Nathan Fitzgibbons drove in two runs for the Northwest champions, who moved on to a winner’s bracket game Sunday against Westport, Conn., which beat South Nashville, Tenn., 3-2 in the night game.


Sammamish jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning, and manager Rob Chandler – Dalton Chandler’s father – had already planned to pull starter Jacob Dahlstrom after around 50 pitches. Dahlstrom wound up throwing 53 and departed with two Corpus Christi runners on base in the third inning before Dalton Chandler took the mound.


“We had a game plan that he’d go 50 (pitches) and we’d try to preserve pitch counts,” Rob Chandler said.


Connecticut 3, Tennessee 2: Ricky Offenberg homered and Chad Knight had a run-scoring double during a fifth-inning rally that lifted Westport to the win. Knight gave Westport the lead after Offenberg tied it 2-2 with a leadoff homer.


Ben Pickman homered on reliever Harry Azadian’s first pitch to give South Nashville a 2-1 lead, but Azadian retired the next five batters. Pickman and Knox Preston had a pair of hits apiece for South Nashville.


Mexico 14, Australia 0: Brandon Meza struck out eight and knocked in three runs, and Brandon Montes added a three-run homer for the Mexican champions in the third inning.


Perth was the first team from the continent to qualify for the LLWS after Australia became its own region for the first time this year. Chase Diggans had the first two hits in LLWS history for Australia, including a first-inning double.


Panama 9, Puerto Rico 4: Armando Lopez knocked in three runs, and Daniel Fernandez and Juan Crisp each hit a two-run homer for Panama.


The Latin American champions took control with five runs in the bottom of the second. Lopez had a two-run triple and Fernandez hit the first home run of the LLWS.


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