Josh, a seventh-grader at Chicago International Charter School, drove in the tying run for the Great Lakes champions in the bottom of the fifth to spur a 7-5 comeback victory over Las Vegas for the U.S. title. The pitcher had given up a two-run homer in the top of the inning. Chicago advanced to the international title game, in which it lost 8-4 to South Korea.
An eighth-grader at Cadwallader Middle School, Austin led the West region champions to a runner-up finish in the U.S. tournament. The pitcher and first baseman struck out 12 in 5 2⁄3 innings and hit a series-best .667 over five games. In Vegas’s 12-2 opening-round win over the Midwest, he hit a double that left an impression in the outfield wall.
Zion went 7-for-11 in four games and was tops on his Mid-Atlantic team in batting average (.636) and on-base percentage (.714). The power-hitting outfielder, a seventh-grader at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, challenged Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard to a home run derby when the slugger visited South Williamsport, Pa.
A seventh-grader at Spring Station Middle School, Blake went 2-for-3 with a solo homer in his last at bat of the tournament to help the Southeast champs beat Canada 12-9 in a consolation game. The pitcher and third baseman also played in the inaugural Tee Ball on the South Lawn All-Star Game at the White House in 2008.
Trey, a seventh-grader at James Hart School, had two of his team’s six hits, including a two-run homer in the first inning of the U.S. title game. The first baseman helped Jackie Robinson West become the first Chicago team since 1967 to reach the international final. Trey had nine hits, two home runs, eight RBIs and batted .429 in the tournament.
Belisle, 54, who has coached Little League in his hometown for the last 16 years, guided his New England champs to the series’ elimination round, falling to Jackie Robinson West 8-7. He gave his tearful team a rousing postgame speech: “You had the whole place jumping, right? You want to know why? They like fighters. They like guys who don’t quit.”