Sports

Needville races past Fargo to improve to 2-0 at Little League World Series

The team from a small town southwest of Houston, making its first appearance in the international youth baseball tournament, will next play at 6 p.m. Monday in a game televised on ESPN2.

Needville Little League World Series Jakolby White
AP Photo/Tom E. Puskar
Needville, Texas’ Jakolby White (2) celebrates after scoring as Fargo, N.D.’s catcher Jackson Molden looks on as White stole home on the throw back to the pitcher during the second inning of a baseball game at the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa., Friday, Aug. 18, 2023.

Needville played small ball to earn another big win at the Little League World Series.

The team of 12-year-olds from a tiny town southwest of Houston beat Fargo, North Dakota 6-2 on Friday night at Lamade Stadium, improving to 2-0 in the international youth baseball tournament held in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Wins in its next two games would put Needville in the U.S. championship game, which is the semifinals of the 20-team event.

Needville, the Fort Bend County community of about 3,000 residents, is playing in the Little League World Series as Southwest and competed in a primetime matchup on ESPN for the second time in as many games. And despite managing only two hits offensively, and none until the fourth inning, the team never trailed while beating the representative of the Midwest region.

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Needville scored its first four runs on a walk, steal of home by Jakolby White, a passed ball and a wild pitch. Cade Hammonds, the 11th hitter in the team's 12-batter lineup, drove in the last two with a two-out double off the left-field wall in the fourth.

Needville Little League World Series Easton Benge
AP Photo/Tom E. Puskar
Needville, Texas, pitcher Easton Benge (8) reacts after striking out Fargo, N.D.’s Cash Martinez for the final out of the baseball game at the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa., Friday, Aug. 18, 2023.

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It proved plenty because three Needville pitchers – starter Easton Ondruch and relievers Michael Raven and Easton Benge – held Fargo to three hits while recording nine strikeouts in the six-inning game. The hard-throwing Benge closed out the win by striking out four in two scoreless innings.

Needville next plays El Segundo, California, competing as West, at 6 p.m. Monday in a game that will be televised on ESPN2.