Lorenzo Butler hit three three-run home runs, the first two in consecutive innings, as Goodlettsville won the United States championship Saturday at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
The 12-year-old second baseman set a LLWS single-game record with nine RBIs when he drove his third one over the fence in right-center in the top of the sixth. He had no home runs or RBIs in his previous eight games beginning with the regional tournament. All three home runs came with two strikes.
With the victory, Goodlettsville capped an undefeated run through the U.S. bracket (4-0) with a dramatic 24-16 victory in seven innings over Petaluma, Calif., a team it defeated earlier in the tournament. Goodlettsville never trailed but was forced to extra innings when it allowed 10 runs, the last three on back-to-back two-out home runs, in the bottom of the sixth.
Jake Rucker led off with a single, and Brock Myers broke the tie with two-run double as Goodlettsville scored nine runs on seven hits in the top of the seventh. Jayson Brown’s two-run home run. Goodlettsville’s fifth home run of the contest, capped the scoring.
The first Tennessee team ever to win the U.S. crown faces Japan at 2 p.m. Sunday (ABC) for the LLWS championship.
Butler’s first home run followed five straight singles to open the fourth inning and put Goodlettsville on top 8-1. His two-out shot in the fifth again made it a seven-run game after Petaluma scored four in the bottom of the fourth.
Myers got Goodlettsville off to a fast start hit a two-run home run in the top of the first. It was his fourth home run in as many games in the tournament.
He also was the starting pitcher. He allowed six runs on six hits, struck out eight and walked one in five innings. He remained on the mound for the start of the sixth inning but faced only one batter and failed to record an out before he reached his pitch limit.
Ryan Lyle replaced Myers but failed to record an out. Luke Brown came on next and got three outs — eventually. He retired the first two hitters he faced in the seventh and — after Petaluma scored once — closed out the contest with a strikeout.
Myers and Cole Carter each had four hits. Butler and Jayson Brown had three apiece, and each of the top six batters in Goodlettsville’s lineup scored at least three runs.