Cronulla win 2019 Australian Little League Championship to qualify for World Series

Cronulla will again put Australian baseball on the world stage later this year after winning the Australian Little League Championship.

The shire team will head to the US for the second time to represent Australia at the Little League Baseball World Series in August.

Cronulla downed Ryde Red 5-2 in the gold medal game at Lismore on Monday to secure its place on the global stage, with the World Series to be played in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

It will be Cronulla's second trip to the US after competing in the World Series in 2015.

A fast start laid the foundations for Cronulla's victory in the decider, with a four-run first inning proving to be the difference between the teams.

Lachlan Vella got Cronulla started on the right foot with a double before Blake Cleary hit a single.

Sam Levick was then walked to see Cronulla load the bases.

Ewan Choat had the chance to get Cronulla on the board and obliged with a bases-clearing triple to give Cronulla a three-run lead.

Cronulla's starting pitcher Max Miotto also had a strong opening as he worked with his team's early lead.

The right-hander struck out four Ryde batters before being replaced in the fifth inning. Vella came into the game for Miotto to record the final five outs.

Ryde threatened late and got themselves on the board on the back of Joshua Nati's single in the third inning. Ryde then pulled within three runs thanks to Alasdair Ballantyne's fifth-inning single.

Cronulla then added an insurance run to secure their passage to the World Series.

It was an impressive performance from Cronulla who went through the tournament undefeated, winning all six of their matches including the gold medal game over five days.

Cronulla started their tournament with an 11-10 win over Melbourne side Twins in their opening match on Thursday. Cronulla then thrashed Canberra 12-0 later on day one to continue their unblemished start.

A 12-3 victory over Northern Metros followed on Friday morning before Cronulla fought hard to down Manly 9-5 in their only match on Saturday.

An 8-4 victory over Hills Red on Sunday thanks to a two-run Zac Curtis home run in the fourth inning saw Cronulla progress to the final against Ryde.

Curtis also impressed on the mound, striking out five Hills batters.

Earlier on Monday, Hills Red finished third, securing the bronze medal with a 10-5 win over Eastern Phantoms.


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