(St. George, UT) – Twelve-year old Braydon Salzman of the Southern California-Ocean View team closed the door on the upset-minded little leaguers from southern Utah in a 5-0 victory Friday night at Al Houghton Stadium.
The team from Utah (2-3) captured much buzz in their home state by earning the right to play in a game broadcast nationally on ESPN2. News outlets throughout Utah reported stories about the team’s rare opportunity.
Though excitement for the team’s success and the television appearance grew in Utah, the outlook for Washington in defeating a powerhouse team from southern California was less than favorable.
Salzman led his Ocean View team in victory and performed like a favorite, controlling the southern Utah team by his throwing and hitting, thus keeping the form of a favorite.
He pitched a complete game (six innings), allowed two hits and struck out 11 Washington batters. Salzman broke open a 0-0 tie in the top of the fourth inning with his bat when he drove a low and outside pitch from Washington starting pitcher Seth Corry down the right field line, bringing home two runners. The triple put So Cal up 2-0 and was the beginning of the end for Corry and Washington.
Corry had pitched a dominant game up until then. He had only allowed two hits before Salzman did his damage, but his pitch count (69) was creeping close to the little league limit of 85. Corry got out of the fourth inning but his pitch count was at 81. The situation was clearly on Corry’s mind and he was visibly frustrated.
Salzman backed up his offense with his pitching and set down three Washington batters in the bottom of the fourth on only seven pitches.
With only four pitches left on his limit, Washington’s Corry took the mound in the top of the fifth and got tournament-hitting leader Hagen Danner to strike out on four pitches. Hitting the 85-pitch limit, Corry had to leave the mound. He tallied eight strike outs in his quality outing but had to move over to first base for the rest of the game.
Southern Cal (5-0) tacked on another three runs in the top of the sixth and Salzman picked up another strike out making his total 11 for the game. His pitching numbers were dazzling. Salzman only had to throw 61 pitches, 52 of which were strikes.