The all-stars from Tallmedge, Ohio, started fast and used stellar defense to knock off Puerto Rico 4-1 Monday night.

Photo Credit: PORTLAND TRIBUNE: DAVID BALL - Tallmedge pitcher Emily Pratt embraces manager Nick Dadich after her team recorded the final out in Mondays 4-1 win over Puerto Rico.

Little League Softball World Series
Pool A

Team Score
Puerto Rico

Tallmadge came through under the bright lights of ESPN Monday night picking up their biggest win of the season 4-1 over Puerto Rico to finish pool play at the Little League Softball World Series.

The win gives the Central Region champs the No. 2 seed out of its pool and a berth into the Series semifinals at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Alpenrose Dairy.

Tallmadge started fast when Jordyn Severns drove a lead-off double to the warning track in left field.

“She’s our spark plug,” Tallmadge manager Nick Dadich said. “I just needed her to get on base. That sets the tone and helps the rest of the team relax.”

Severns came home two batters later when Lauren Tecca hit a single through the left side, giving the Central all-stars a lead they would never surrender.

Tallmadge added another run in the second inning and doubled its margin to 4-0 in the third inning, which started with a series of singles. Katelyn Hussing and Emily Pratt connecting on run-producing hits.

Puerto Rico didn’t get on the scoreboard until the fifth inning and created a few nervous moments in the sixth. Thalianette Noble sent a first-swing single into the left-field gap to spark the Puerto Rico rally, which saw the tying run step into the batter’s box when Tallmadge manager Nick Dadich walked out to calm his pitcher Emily Pratt.

“Coach Nick just told me to show him I can do it on the next batter — to do what I know how to do,” Pratt said.

She responded by striking out the next batter with three pitches through the center of the zone. The batter looked at the first two and swung late on the third.

Still, Tallmadge needed to convert one more out and that came in a matter of seconds when Loveless scooped a grounder cleanly out of the dirt and tossed the ball cleanly to first base.

Tallmadge advances to play East champion Robbinsville, NJ, — a squad that placed third in last year’s Series and has surrendered only two runs on its way to a No. 1 seed this year.

“We are going against the best team in the tournament tomorrow,” Dadich said. “We will need to play a perfect game against them, but you can’t play that perfect game if you don’t get there first.”

Puerto Rico stranded five runners over the first two innings before seeing seven straight batters sent back to the dugout in the middle innings.

Photo Credit: PORTLAND TRIBUNE: DAVID BALL - Lindsey Sanders comes safely into third base during Columbus 14-4 win over the Czech Republic in the morning game Monday.

Little League Softball World Series
Pool A

Team Score
Columbus, Ga.
Czech Republic

• Tuesday’s early semifinal (3:30 p.m.) offers a Southern showdown between Columbus, Ga. (4-0) against Bossier City, La., (3-1).

Columbus finished out a perfect pool-play session with a 14-4 mercy-rule win over the Czech Republic to start Monday’s action. Columbus toyed with its lineup and fell behind 4-2 early on, but an eight-inning burst put the Southeast champs in command by the end of the second inning.

Mary Head highlighted the scoring spree with a three-run double down the left-field line.

“I just kept thinking ‘Please don’t catch it, please don’t catch it,’ “ Head said. “I was halfway to second base when I saw it drop, and I felt like doing a cartwheel.”

Columbus went to ace pitcher Raelee Weaver midway through the second inning and she would retire all eight batters she faced — six of them on strikeouts.

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