From his spot on the mound, Idaho’s Julian Washburn saw firsthand the missed opportunities his team and Arkansas had in Game 3 of The American Legion World Series on Thursday.
“The only thing in my mind was we need to score first, because if we score first, it gives us a lot of confidence,” Washburn said.
They’re confident now, after a 4-0 victory at Keeter Stadium in Shelby, N.C.
It’s the sixth straight win for Idaho (41-11), which lost its opener in the Northwest Regional and had to win five in a row to reach the ALWS for the first time.
“It was kind of an eye-opener, because we had been rolling through all these teams and finally we lose,” Washburn said.
Idaho and Arkansas (43-8) combined for 18 hits, but it was Idaho taking advantage.
In the top of the second, Idaho’s Jaden Phillips reached third after a single, a wild pitch and a single by Chase Adkison. But with no one out, Aaron Orender picked Phillips off for the first out — a costly one, with Arkansas’ Seth Tucker bobbling Danny Robinson’s groundout.
Arkansas missed an opportunity to score in the bottom of the third after putting runners on the corners with one out. Jake East fouled out to first for the second out and Tucker flew out to right to get Washburn out of the jam.
An inning later, Arkansas had runners on first and second with no one out when catcher Adkison threw out Dylan Hurt at second. But Jake Wright singled and, after a flyout by Scott Schmidt, Brandon Hoover walked to load the bases with two outs. But Coby Greiner grounded into an inning-ending fielder’s choice.
The top of the fifth found Idaho with runners at the corners but Riley Way’s groundout ended the threat.
Finally in the top of the sixth, Light walked on four pitches, advanced to second when A.J. Davis was hit by a pitch, moved to third on Luke White’s flyout then scored on a double steal. Davis then scored when Orender hit Chris Powell. Kolt Olson singled to score Adkinson, with Robinson then thrown out at home, to give Idaho a 3-0 lead.
Light then scored again in the seventh when after his single, Davis singled and the runners advanced on a throwing error with Light scoring after the ball went into the Arkansas dugout.
Washburn scattered eight hits across nine innings to earn the victory. His 114-pitch performance on Thursday means he won’t be able to pitch again until Tuesday, if Idaho reaches the championship game.
Both Idaho and Arkansas are off until Saturday, when Arkansas faces New Jersey in Game 7 at 11:30 a.m. and Idaho battles North Carolina in Game 8 at 3:30 p.m.