PORTLAND, Ore. — Kaya Hannon and Tunkhannock are off to a fast start at the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Ore.
With Hannon throwing a 14-strikeout, two-hitter, Tunkhannock won the opener of the entire 10-team tournament this afternoon, shutting out Victoria, B.C. (Canada), 2-0.
Pitching in 99-degree weather even though the game started at 10 a.m. local time on the west coast, Hannon was in command throughout. She was perfect through four innings and came within an out of a no-hitter.
Victoria used consecutive two-out singles and a wild pitch to put the tying runs in scoring position before Hannon, the daughter of manager Tim Hannon, bounced back on a 2-2 pitch to strike out opposing pitcher Brynn Fortier.
The game was the first in Pool A, one of two five-team pools in which teams will play each other once each for four games to determine which teams advance to the quarterfinals and in what seeding position.
Paige Marabell had two of Tunkhannock’s six hits. Ella McNeff had the only extra-base hit with a double.
Tunkhannock scored both runs in the second inning and stranded seven runners in its five at-bats.
Sydney Huff and Erin Van Ness started the bottom of the second with singles and stolen bases to put runners at second and third. Alexis Gilroy, with a groundball, and Hannah James, with a bunt, drove them home.
The Tunkhannock girls qualified for the trip to Oregon after winning district, sectional and state titles on their way to the East Regional championship in Bristol, Conn.
The win sent the players and coaches to the World Series, at Little League’s expense. With the help of community fundraisers all of the players’ families made it there, as well, arriving on six different flights in time to settle in together before the tournament opened.
Tunkhannock plays again at 10 p.m. Thursday against the Europe-Africa champion, Northwest Czech Republic from Prague.
Fans followed the team from home in Tunkhannock. According to Facebook updates, there were viewing parties at Shadowbrook and the Moose Club and local businesses had the game on.
The games can be viewed on ESPN+ streaming service.