Taylor North beats Ohio, wins Little League World Series championship

Taylor, Mich., playrers poses with the World Series Champion banner after their win over Hamilton, Ohio, in the Little League World Series Championship baseball game in South Williamsport, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Tom E. Puskar) (Tom E. Puskar, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – The Taylor North Little League team defeated the West Side Little League squad from Hamilton, Ohio, on Sunday to capture the Little Little World Series title.

The final score was 5-2.

Taylor North is the first Michigan team to win the Little League World Series championship since Hamtramck did so in 1959.

Michigan’s bats got hot in the bottom of the first inning, scoring three runs after Ohio stranded the bases loaded in the top half.

Jackson Surma hit his fifth double of the LLWS during the rally, and came through again with a two-run hit in the bottom of the fifth. He knocked in four of Michigan’s five runs on the day.

Ohio scored its first run in the second inning and then was shut out until the sixth. After Ohio pulled to within three, Michigan stranded the bases loaded to seal the victory.

Ethan Van Belle led the way for Taylor North, pitching four innings and allowing just one run. He struck out eight Ohio batters -- many with runners in scoring position.

Gavin Ulin reached base three times -- two singles and a walk -- and also closed the game out on the mound.

Cameron Thorning played a major role for Michigan behind the plate, getting his pitchers extra strikes in big situations. He picked an Ohio runner off of third base to end an Ohio rally after the runner started trotting toward the dugout, thinking the inning was over.

Michigan earned a spot in the LLWS by winning the Great Lakes Region, but Ohio also got to go as the region’s runner-up. Two teams from each region qualified this year after the COVID pandemic kept international teams from participating in the event.

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