Grand slam leads Santa Margarita to victory in Little League World Series opener

 

  • Santa Margarita’s Bobby Gray delivers a pitch during Friday’s opening-round game at the Little League World Series. Gray took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and allowed just two base runners through 5 1/3 innings to lead the West to a 9-0 win over the Northwest. (Photo by Brett R. Crossley, For the Orange County Register)

    Santa Margarita’s Bobby Gray delivers a pitch during Friday’s opening-round game at the Little League World Series. Gray took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and allowed just two base runners through 5 1/3 innings to lead the West to a 9-0 win over the Northwest. (Photo by Brett R. Crossley, For the Orange County Register)

  • Santa Margarita’s A.J. Gamulao attempts to tag first after a ground ball from the Northwest’s Keegan Weston. The play was challenged by the Northwest, but the call of out was upheld. (Photo by Brett R. Crossley, For the Orange County Register)

    Santa Margarita’s A.J. Gamulao attempts to tag first after a ground ball from the Northwest’s Keegan Weston. The play was challenged by the Northwest, but the call of out was upheld. (Photo by Brett R. Crossley, For the Orange County Register)

  • Santa Margarita’s Joey Gray rounds third after hitting a first-inning grand slam to give the West a 4-0 lead over the Northwest in Friday’s Little League World Series game in Williamsport, Pa. Gray drove in the first five runs for the West. (Photo by Brett R. Crossley for the Orange County Register)

    Santa Margarita’s Joey Gray rounds third after hitting a first-inning grand slam to give the West a 4-0 lead over the Northwest in Friday’s Little League World Series game in Williamsport, Pa. Gray drove in the first five runs for the West. (Photo by Brett R. Crossley for the Orange County Register)

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WILLIAMSPORT. Pa. — It only took Santa Margarita’s Joey Gray one swing of the bat to make his name ring throughout Little League circles at the World Series in Williamsport, Pa. on Friday.

A walk, a double from Drew Rutter, and another walk set the stage for Gray, who walked to the plate for a bases-loaded, first-inning at-bat against the Northwest’s Caiden Thomsen. Gray worked his way to a full count, then hit a towering shot over the right field fence.

It was the second grand slam of the 2017 Little League World Series, and it proved more than enough for Santa Margarita as Joey’s brother Bobby Gray took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before settling for a 9-0 victory over Northwest representative Walla Walla, Wash.

Bobby Gray allowed just one base runner through the first three innings. His best efforts came in the third, when he struck out the first two batters and forced a groundout to shortstop for a 1-2-3 inning. Gray gave up a hit to Andrew Hall, who turned out to be the final batter Gray would face.

Bobby Gray went 5 1/3 innings, giving up just four base runners on his way to earning the win. Bryan Ramirez entered in relief in the sixth, walking a batter, but recording the final two outs to give the West its first win.

Gray also drove in Rutter again in the third inning. Rutter reached on a walk and Gray hit him home with single into right field.

Rutter was a constant on the bases for Gray. Rutter reached in all of his plate appearances and, more importantly, took advantage by reaching home in all his appearances.

The win advances Santa Margarita to a second-round game on Sunday at 11 a.m. against the winner of Friday evening’s game between Midwest and Southwest.

 

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