California wins Little League title in wild fashion

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California wins Little League title in wild fashion

From Comcast SportsNet Monday, August 29, 2011

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) Nick Pratto made his father proud and helped California win the Little League World Series.

The way Pratto threw his helmet in the air and skipped around first base after his game-winning single, it was hard to tell the 12-year-old first baseman had done anything wrong Sunday in the first place.

The boys from Huntington Beach were all smiles after Prattos solid liner to center with the bases loaded and two outs scored pinch-runner Eric Anderson for the winning run in a 2-1 victory Sunday over Hamamatsu City, Japan, to take the tournament title.

California returned the World Series title to the United States with the type of victory even the big leaguers dream about. A U.S. team has won six of the past seven World Series, with Japans win last year the exception.

It has a nice ring to it, Pratto said when asked what it was like to be called a champ.

It was a fitting end to a tense game marked by excellent pitching and timely defense.

Braydon Salzman pitched a complete-game three-hitter for the win and struck out nine. Japan starter Shoto Totsuka struck out five over 4 1-3 innings, giving up a homer to right to California slugger Hagen Danner.

The teams exchanged handshakes at the plate before Californias giddy players posed at the mound with their new championship banner.

My team is physically smaller than most of the teams. We didnt think we would get to this stage, Japan manager Akihiro Suzuki, who fought back tears after the game, said through interpreter Kotaro Omori. All of the players did such a wonderful job to get to this stage.

Nicks father, manager Jeff Pratto, said after winning the U.S. title on Saturday that the World Series championship would be a no-pressure contest.

That changed in the third, when Japan flashed trademark hustle to scratch out the games first run after Seiya Fujita singled to left.

Pinch-runner Kaito Suzuki moved to second on a bunt and raced toward third with no one covering. The throw from Pratto at first bounced into foul territory, allowing Suzuki to score easily.

Probably when my son threw that ball away, Jeff Pratto said when asked when he started feeling pressure. It was half-and half. Our shortstop didnt get to third and cover.

When he got to the plate, the skipper added, in my head, Im thinking this is a chance to redeem himself.

Did he ever.

With runners on first and second, an error by Japan shortstop Gaishi Iguchi on what could have been an inning-ending double play loaded the bases for California. After a force play at the plate, Pratto smacked the single to center off reliever Kazuto Takakura that scored the winning run.

Pratto said it was great to have his father as his coach, but he kind of gets on my nerves sometimes.

First pitch was delayed more than three hours after the outer bands of Hurricane Irene brought more rain than expected to the Williamsport area.

The result was bad, but they really tried their best, Akihiro Suzuki said. Todays weather was difficult for us to get used too. If the weather was like this in Japan, we wouldnt have played.

The clouds finally started parting midway through the game, and sunshine draped the complex by the time the California players left the stadium to cheers by friends and family.

Neither team could convert on several chances to break open the pitchers duel earlier in the game.

With runners on first and second in the top of the sixth, third baseman Dylan Palmer blocked the bag from sliding Japan runner Ken Igeta on a bunt play to help get California get out the inning.

California put runners on first and second with two outs in the fifth, but Takakura got a flyout to end the inning.

Playing right field in the second, Takakura also made a running catch on a fly down the line to save an extra-base hit with a runner on second.

In a gracious gesture, Japans players and coaches lined up and exchanged high-fives with the California kids after Huntington Beach did the traditional victory lap around the stadium warning track.

Its just a dream come true, Danner said. I never thought we would be in that spot, let alone winning it.

Kerr makes NBA history with Warriors' win in Houston

Kerr makes NBA history with Warriors' win in Houston

Steve Kerr continues to re-write the record books.

The Warriors' 113-106 victory in Houston on Tuesday was Kerr's 200th win of his brief coaching career.

The milestone victory comes in just his 238th game as a head coach, making him the fastest coach to 200 career wins.

Hall of Fame Bulls and Lakers coach Phil Jackson held the previous record at 200 wins in 270 games.

In Kerr's three seasons as the coach of the Warriors, the team has won at least 60 games each year. Before the current three-year run, the Warriors never had a 60-win season in franchise history.

 

Instant Replay: Warriors hold off Rockets, pick up big 60th win

Instant Replay: Warriors hold off Rockets, pick up big 60th win

BOX SCORE

The Warriors raced out to a big lead early, and then had to hang on for a 113-106 victory over the relentless Rockets on Tuesday night at Toyota Center in Houston.

Stephen Curry, with 32 points, and Klay Thompson, with 25, led the offensive charge. Draymond Green put in 19 points and Andre Iguodala came off the bench to add 12.

Though the Warriors led by as much as 22 in the first half, Houston kept coming. It was ferocious defense that allowed the Warriors to prevail, as they held the Rockets to 38.8-percent shooting, including 16.1 percent from 3-point distance.

The victory was the 200th of Steve Kerr’s coaching career, making him the fastest coach to reach that milestone. He is 200-38 as Warriors coach.

The Warriors (60-14) overcome a 39-16 disparity in free throw attempts to reach the 60-win mark for the third consecutive season for the first time in franchise history.

James Harden posted his 20th triple-double of the season, with 24 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to earn the victory for the Rockets (51-23).

STANDOUT PERFORMER:
Even though Curry didn’t have a particularly good shooting night by his standards, at least in the early going, he came on strong late and checked a lot of boxes needed for the win.

Curry’s line: 32 points (11-of-22 shooting from the field, 3-11 from beyond the arc, 7-of-10 from the line), team-high 10 rebounds, team-high seven assists and two steals. He played 33 minutes and finished plus-9 for the game.

TURNING POINT:
After Houston pulled within three, 76-73, on two free throws by Nene with 5:06 left in the third quarter, the Warriors closed the quarter with a 10-2 to take an 86-75 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Rockets got as close as five in the fourth quarter before the Warriors finished it.

INJURY UPDATE:
Warriors: C/F James Michael McAdoo (L eyebrow laceration) left in the first quarter and did not return. F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain, bone bruise) was listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Rockets: F Ryan Anderson (R ankle sprain) was listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT:
The Warriors traveled to San Antonio immediately after the game and will face the Spurs on Wednesday night at AT&T Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:35 Pacific.