The Lufkin little league team was defeated in the Little League World Series Southwest regional finals 9-0 on Thursday night in Waco. Texas West's (San Antonio) pitcher Tyler Vitt threw a complete game shutout that included 10 strikeouts in the championship game, and Lufkin had no answer on the mound.
With ESPN2's TV cameras throughout the ballpark, Lufkin turned to Tyler Torres. Torres normally starts at catcher, but due to little league rules on pitch count for the previous two pitchers was called on to pitch in the finals. Torres started off the game with confidence, allowing no runs in the first inning despite hitting the first batter he faced.
It was in the 2nd inning that Jordan Cardenas broke the game open with a 3-run home run to give San Antonio a 4-run lead. Meanwhile Lufkin sent only 3 batters to the plate in 2 of the first 3 innings. In the 4th Texas West added 4 more runs, that included a double that turned into an inside the park home run after a throwing error.
However, throughout the broadcast on ESPN 2 even as Lufkin was losing the viewers could clearly hear the large Texas East crowd cheering on their team. Several "Let's go Lufkin," and "L. P." chants were heard despite the large deficit on the scoreboard.
In the end it was Texas West with the dog pile in the middle of the field, and they will move on to Williamsport when the Little League World Series begins next week.
This was Lufkin's first season under the Little League rules, so the sky is the limit for this East Texas program.