Starting pitcher Bradley Smith struck out seven and went 4-for-4 at the plate, and Petaluma, Calif., held on for a 6-4 victory over Fairfield, Conn., on Thursday in the Little League World Series.
The 13-year-old Smith strikes an imposing pose with his 6-foot-3 frame. He homered to center, doubled twice and added a sixth-inning single.
But California couldn't shake Connecticut. Will Lucas tripled home a run before scoring on a passed ball to get Connecticut within a run in the bottom of the fifth.
Connecticut threatened again in the sixth, but reliever Andrew White got a double play and strikeout to end the game. The 12-year-old lefty pumped his fist after he left the mound to be greeted by giddy teammates.
Biagio Paoletta homered for Connecticut.