Tunkhannock pitcher Kaya Hannon flirted with perfection Wednesday afternoon in the opening game of the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Ore.
Then she came within one out of a no-hitter when Canada’s bats suddenly came alive.
But then she ended the game with something she was doing all game.
Hannon posted her 14th strikeout with runners on second and third to end the game as Tunkhannock held off the Canadian champion — Layritz Little League of Victoria, British Columbia — 2-0.
Alexis Gilroy and Hannah James each had an RBI for Tunkhannock, which scored both runs in the third inning.
Up next in pool play for Tunkhannock, the Pennsylvania and U.S. East Region champion, will be the Europe-Africa Region champion Northwest Czech Republic, a team based out of Prague. The game will be 10 p.m. Thursday and will be streamed live on ESPN+. Tunkhannock will play four games in pool play.
Hannon retired 12 in a row to open the game, striking out the sides in the second and third inning. Canada’s Kassidy Ralfs broke up the perfect game by working a walk on a 3-2 pitch to start the fifth.
Hannon, though, retired the next three batters in order and opened the sixth with two more strikeouts before Canada made things interesting.
Down to its final out, Canada’s Kaela Gillis dropped a single into short right field. Hannah Southern then singled to center, sending Gillis to second. Both runners moved up a base when Hannon uncorked a wild pitch, but she came back with her 14th strikeout to end the game.
Tunkhannock had some opportunities throughout game, yet managed just two runs.
Tunkhannock threatened in the first with two outs. Hannon reached on a throwing error on her grounder and then moved to second on Paige Marabell’s lined single to left field. Canada pitcher Brynn Fortier quelled things by getting Cali Wisnosky on a slow roller to first base.
Fortier wasn’t as fortunate in the second inning as Tunkhannock plated two runs.
Tunkhannock’s Sydney Huff opened the second by lining a single to right. She stole second on the first pitch to Erin Van Ness and moved to third when Van Ness slipped a chopper through the hole between the first and second basemen.
Gilroy followed with another slow chopper to the right side, scoring Huff and moving Van Ness to third. James then dropped a bunt down the third-base line. James was thrown out at first, but Van Ness scored when she slid under the throw to home.
Ella McNeff kept the inning going with a double in the right-center gap and Julianna Roote walked, but Canada got a comebacker to Fortier to end the inning.
Tunkhannock had an opportunity to build on the lead in the third after Marabell singled up the middle and Huff walked an out later, but a strikeout and a pop ended the inning.
After a quiet fourth, Tunkhannock got two runners on in the fifth with two outs. Wisnosky singled up the middle and Huff reached on an error, sending Wisnosky to third. Van Ness, though, hit into a fielder’s choice for the last out.
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