Petaluma National doesn’t want to leave Williamsport, Pa. quite yet, winning its second-straight game in the elimination bracket of the 2012 Little League World Series, a 5-0 victory over Connecticut on Tuesday night.
, Petaluma cruised against Connecticut thanks to Quinton Gago’s solid night on the mound and Hance Smith's clutch hitting.
Gago pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing just two hits and striking out seven while Smith crushed a three-run home run in the third inning to give Gago a decent cushion.
Gago stranded five Connecticut runners on base in the first three innings before retiring the side in order in the fourth and fifth innings. Andrew White relieved Gago in the sixth after he reached the 85-pitch Little League limit in the sixth, and forced Connecticut to ground into a double play to end the game.
The duo of Smith and Gago spoke to ESPN after the game.
“It was just outstanding,” said Smith of Gago’s outing on ESPN. “I think that’s the best he’s ever pitched.”
Gago said he knew Smith was going to do something special with two runners in scoring position in the third inning.
“He’s kind of been struggling a little bit and kind of broke that tonight,” Gago told ESPN. “And I thank him very much because he helped me with that. I calmed down once I had four-run run lead or three run lead. I don’t even remember what it was. Thank you very much, Hance.”
Smith said he felt the home run ended his recent struggles.
“To come out and hit that home run felt good,” Smith told ESPN.
Petaluma will play the loser of tomorrow’s Texas/Tennessee game on Thursday at 5 p.m.