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Top teams from several regions took one step closer to solidifying their spot in the 2023 Little League Baseball World Series with victories in semifinal action Wednesday.
Teams from the Midwest, New England, Northwest, Metro and West battled for the right to advance to the regional championship games, with one team in particular scoring what can best be described as an upset as it stunted one of the hottest offenses in the entire tournament.
Who emerged victoriously from a long day of high-stakes baseball?
Find out with this recap of Wednesday’s action.
Midwest Region Semifinal: South Dakota (Sioux Falls) def. North Dakota (Fargo), 7-3
New England Region Semifinal: Massachusetts (Canton) def. New Hampshire (Salem), 5-0
Northwest Region Semifinal: Alaska (Anchorage) def. Idaho (Couer d’Alene), 2-0
Metro Region Semifinal: Rhode Island (Smithfield) def. New Jersey (East Hanover), 10-5
West Region Semifinal: North California (San Ramon) def. Hawaii (Hilo), 3-0
*Great Lakes Championship game delayed to Thursday due to inclement weather
South Dakota scored what may have been the upset of the day, but it was far from easy.
The Sioux Falls team jumped out to a three-nil lead but Fargo responded, answering with three quick runs of their own. Stifling defense by South Dakota and four more runs completed an impressive showing for a team that will play for the Midwest Region title on Friday.
Massachusetts jumped on New Hampshire early, scoring an early run on a wild pitch, and never looked back.
The Canton team scored on a sacrifice bunt, a wild pitch, a triple, and a single to take a 4-0 lead. A double put a game that was already out of reach in the win column.
The squad out of Massachusetts will now play Maine for the Northeast Region title.
Their shutout victory was not the only one Wednesday as Alaska’s representative out of Anchorage blanked Idaho in a game that featured some of the best defensive highlights of the tournament to this point but lacked the sort of explosive offense on display from more celebrated teams.
Alaska will play a Washington squad out of Seattle that scored 21 total runs in two games and looks like the sure-fire winner out of the Northwest Region.
As we witnessed with South Dakota knocking off North Dakota earlier, though, a defense that can take away the opposition’s bats can beat any team it runs up against.
Rhode Island’s Smithfield squad battered East Hanover, New Jersey, doubling it up in runs and cashing a ticket to the Metro Region Championship against a Massapequa team that has looked like the class of the bracket to this point, thanks to a 20-run outburst across two games.
In the final game of the day, Northern California put an end to Hawaii’s bid to make it two Little League World Series wins in a row for the state, defeating the team out of Hilo three runs to nil.