Grosse Pointe's LLWS title hopes come to end

Tom Robinson
Special to The Detroit News


South Williamsport, Pa. — Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores manager Jason Hill ran out of pitching strategies for Chris Cartnick and the rest of the sluggers from Jackson, N.J.

Cartnick hit home runs to begin and end a nine-run, fourth-inning outburst that carried the Mid-Atlantic Region champions to a 15-5 victory Saturday afternoon in an elimination game at the Little League World Series.

Holbrook ended the game and Grosse Pointe’s title hopes when it secured the win on the 10-run rule at the end of the fourth inning.

“We threw the kitchen sink at (Cartnick),” Hill said. “If we had literally done that today, he would have hit that out of the park, too.

“… We threw him anything and everything in every location and it just didn’t matter. The kid can swing the bat.”

BOX SCORE: New Jersey 15, Grosse Pointe 5

Cartnick finished 3-for-4 with the two homers, a double and six RBIs. He led an attack that produced 14 hits, including five for extra bases.

“They didn’t stop today,” Hill said. “They put a lot of pressure on our pitching; a lot of pressure on our defense.

“I knew they were capable of doing that. I saw several regional games where there were good pitchers on the mound and they really made it tough on them. That’s what they did to our kids.”

Grosse Pointe, which lost to Texas on Thursday, is out of championship contention, but still has a consolation game scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday. It will play Emilia, Italy, the Europe-Africa Region champion in an international consolation game.

The Michigan state and Great Lakes Region champions led 2-0 after one inning, were tied after two and trailed by just one run through three.

Holbrook batted around in the second and fourth innings.

“Obviously, we hit some bombs,” Holbrook manager Rob Grano said.

Joey Randazzo made sure Grosse Pointe had one, too. His solo homer with two out capped a three-run bottom of the second to force a 5-5 tie.

Matthew Greene had a bunt single that drew a wild throw and eventually scored the second run of the first inning.

Ryan Jones and Will Pflaum started the second with consecutive singles and each scored. Drew Hill drove in one run on a ground out and the other scored on an error.

After putting the potential go-ahead runners on base in the bottom of the third, Grosse Pointe was unable to keep pace with Holbrook.

Jason Hill said a competitive game in the nationally televised contest still made for a memorable day.

“I watch this every year with my kids,” he said. “We switch on ESPN or ABC and you see the hill at Lamade full on Saturday afternoon. That’s exactly what we had, except this time, my son, myself, our coaches and players were sitting in the first-base dugout. It’s a cool experience. It’s been unbelievable.”

Emilia was the first team eliminated from the tournament and Grosse Pointe was the first U.S. team eliminated. Their Monday morning game will be televised by ESPN.

“I’m very excited to be able to play Italy,” Hill said at the press conference following Saturday’s loss. “It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a great experience for our kids.

“Through an interpreter, I just spoke to their head coach a little bit.”

Hill said there will be a different approach to the international game.

“We’ll attack that game from a personnel standpoint far different than we would if we were still alive in the double-elimination format,” he said. “We’re going to give some kids an opportunity to play.

"We’ve had a couple kids that have been very good teammates and have been one at-bat and done for several games now. They’re going to get an opportunity to play a whole game.”

Tom Robinson is a freelance writer.