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The comeback kids have done it again. After falling behind 2-0 in the bottom of the first, the Eastlake Little League All Stars from Sammamish came roaring back to take a 6-5 win over Nashville, Tenn. and advance in the Little League World Series Tuesday night.
But it didn't look promising early on, as Eastlake was baffled by Tennessee starting pitcher Trae McLemore. The 5-foot 11-inch and 209-pound pitcher fanned the first six Eastlake batters, including first baseman Will Armbruester who's dad said he was more than a little worried.
"When the boy came out from Southeast and was blazing fastballs and change-ups, we thought 'OK, this is going to be a long game.'"
But everything changed in the third inning as Eastlake sent 10 boys to the plate and scored six runs, helped by an error and a controversial fair ball that scored two. A call that was reviewed by replay. The ball appeared to be foul but was called fair. The review showed it caught just a sliver of the line.
Will Armbruester had a hit and an RBI in that key third inning. "Stuff was running through my mind and I didn't really have a lot of time to process it all," he said. "And when we won I was just so happy."
Jake Dahlstrom got the win for Sammamish, allowing four runs over 2 2/3 innings. He struck out four, walked two and surrendered five hits.
The worst the team can do is finish third in the nation. The team has Wednesday off, and then the boys will play the loser of Wednesday night's California-Connecticut game on Thursday at 5 p.m.
"It's just going to be really fun," the younger Armbruester said. "Whoever wins, we've accomplished a lot, and it's just going to be a really fun game."
This is as far as any Washington team has made it in the Little League World Series since the kids from Kirkland won the whole thing in 1982.
MyNorthwest.com's Josh Kerns contributed to this report.