Santa Clara all-stars make history with Little League World Series berth

In this Aug. 24, 2019, photo, Little League fans watch from the hillside overlooking left field at Lamade Stadium at the Little League World Series tournament in South Williamsport, Pa. Little League has been benched. The Snow Canyon Little League U-12 All-Stars became the first team from Utah to advance to the LLWS with a 7-3 win over Nevada in the Mountain regional championship.

In this Aug. 24, 2019, photo, Little League fans watch from the hillside overlooking left field at Lamade Stadium at the Little League World Series tournament in South Williamsport, Pa. Little League has been benched. The Snow Canyon Little League U-12 All-Stars became the first team from Utah to advance to the LLWS with a 7-3 win over Nevada in the Mountain regional championship. (Gene J. Puskar, Associated Press)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY β€” Kolby Lameroux doesn't know how he got the nickname "Chops," only that all of his teammates on the Snow Canyon Little League Under-12 all-star team call him that.

On one history-making day, it was Chops' world β€” and the rest of us were just living in it.

Lameroux went 2-for-3 with a home run and five RBI, and Snow Canyon became the first-ever team from Utah to qualify for the Little League World Series with a 7-3 win over Nevada in the Mountain regional championship game Friday in San Bernardino, California.

Falynn Randall, the only girl on the team from Santa Clara in Washington County, also had two hits for Utah in the squad's second win over Nevada of the week. Winning pitcher Reggie Ence scattered six hits with three strikeouts for Snow Canyon, and Brex Whitney finished out the final inning of arguably the biggest win in Utah Little League history.

Snow Canyon advanced to Friday's regional championship in the first-ever edition of the Little League World Series' Mountain region with a come-from-behind 5-4 win Tuesday night over Nevada, when Colton Gainey hit a walk-off dinger to rally Utah from deficits of 3-0 and 4-2.

Nevada, playing out of the Paseo Verde Little League in Henderson, Nevada, took the loss before coming back to eliminate Montana 5-1 on Thursday to set up Friday's regional championship, with an automatic berth to the tournament proper at stake. The Nevadans were seeking to become the first team from the Silver State to earn a berth in the Little League World Series since 2014, and just the second all time.

But Utah struck first in the bottom, when Lameroux chopped a pop-up with two outs in the bottom of the first to score two for a 2-0 lead. But Nevada pulled back a pair in the top of the second as both teams battled to a draw until Lameroux did it again in the bottom of the third. The slugger ripped a first-pitch home run over the center-field fence, easily clearing the bushes at Al Houghton Stadium to drive in Randall and Ence for a 5-2 advantage.

Three innings, six hits, and five runs, all scored by or driven in by Lameroux, for Snow Canyon. And Utah still wasn't done.

Cody Ruffell added another on back-to-back stolen bases on two outs in the fourth, and Brogan Coop came home on a wild throw during the two-run inning.

The Little League World Series opens Aug. 17 in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. All games will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks.

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A proud graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Walker has covered BYU for KSL.com since 2015, while also mixing in prep sports, education, and anything else his editors assign him to do.

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