WACO, Texas — Cain Castille tripled and continued home on a throwing error in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Lafayette All-Stars advanced to the Little League World Series by defeating East Pearland, Texas 8-7 Thursday night.
Lafayette, which reached the World Series in 2005, is the first of eight U.S. regional qualifiers that will compete Aug. 18-28 in Williamsport, Pa. Eight international qualifiers will comprise a second bracket.
Castille came to the plate against Hunter Lytle with one out and nobody on in the seventh. He lofted a bloop single just inside the right-field foul line and was between second and third when the throw from right fielder Erasmo Veliz skipped past third base, allowing Castille to score.
Lafayette was three outs away from elimination when it entered the bottom of the seventh against Texas starter Nicholas Landrum, who had cooled off a team that had scored 50 runs in its last four games. But Landrum reached his pitch count after yielding a leadoff single to Ethan Hines and was replaced by Jacob Whitehead.
After Haden Erbe struck out looking for the first out, Michael Guidry walked and Zach Stritzinger hit an RBI single, making it 7-4.
After Tyler Miller flied out to center, Lafayette was one out from elimination but Nick Fruge his a three-run homer to right-center, sending the game into extra innings.
Hines, who relieved Erbe in the third inning, got the victory after pitching 4.1 innings and allowing two hits and one run, walking four and striking out five.
Lafayette overcame a remarkable game by Texas’ Austin Hurst, who went 3-for-4 with a homer, double and six RBIs.