SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) – Connor Toups walked up to the plate Saturday in a situation that most Little Leaguers only dream about: bases loaded and nobody out with his team down by a run.

The little guy came up big. Toups’ single to left past a drawn-in infield scored two runs to rally Lafayette, La., to a 3-2 win over Westbrook, Maine, in the Little League World Series.

After the game, Toups didn’t say much – he’s only 11, after all – but he did smile a lot.

“I went up there looking to get a hit. He threw me a fastball,” said Toups, who at 4-foot-10 and 78 pounds is one of the smallest boys on Lafayette (1-0), the Southwest region champs. “It felt good.”

Toups’ dramatic hit on a warm, sunny afternoon kicked off the busiest day of the 10-day tournament – six games in two stadiums all scheduled to start within a nine-hour span.

In another early game Saturday, Chiba City, Japan, shut out Dharan, Saudi Arabia, 3-0.

Westbrook starter Ryan Murphy held Lafayette scoreless until the sixth, the final inning in Little League, when Murphy failed to retire a batter.

On Toups’ winning hit, Jace Conrad raced around from second base and pumped his fist after sliding home with the winning run.

Nick Finocchiaro and Michael Mowatt homered for Westbrook (0-1), the New England champs.

Both teams played great defense. In the first inning, with a runner on first, Lafayette second baseman Brenn Conrad turned a double play by grabbing a relay toss bare-handed, stepping on second and then throwing to first for the second out.

“It was like if we don’t hit it over the fence they were going to make the play,” Westbrook manager Richard Knight said.

In other games Saturday:

Japan 3, Saudi Arabia 0

Takuya Sakamoto threw a two-hitter and started a decisive three-run rally in the third inning with a double. Sakamoto struck out 11 in going all the way for Chiba City (1-0), the Asia region champs. Alexander Robinett struck out six and allowed six hits for Dhahran (0-1), the Transatlantic champs.

AP-ES-08-20-05 1610EDT


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