WACO — The McAllister Park All-Stars, playing in the Central Texas afternoon heat, caught fire for six runs in a crucial fourth inning, crushing Eastdale, New Mexico, 13-3 on Wednesday in the Southwest Regional title game and sending the North Side league to its third Little League World Series in seven years.
McAllister Park will play at 8 p.m Aug. 19 against the team from the Great Lakes, which has yet to be determined, at Lamade Stadium in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
“This is what we’ve been working on from the moment we first set foot on the fields at McAllister Park,” said Mike Tellis, the team’s manager.
This group of kids, led by Tellis, has won the Little League Texas West title for three consecutive years. Those 10- and 11-year-old classifications don’t play beyond the state title.
This year was different.
“We knew what we had to do,” said Rilan Quinones, who went 4-for-4 in the most important ballgame of his life so far.
The game was a rematch for the two teams. New Mexico won 9-6 on Monday night.
“We felt that we’d win,” Quinones said. “They beat us and scored nine runs on us. No one has done that before. All they did was poke a bear. They just woke a sleeping bear.”
Quinones got the scoring going in the first inning with a double that scored Dominic Tellis, the skipper’s son. Pinch runner Orion Medina scored from third on Matthew Flores-King’s infield ground-out.
New Mexico answered with three runs of its own in the bottom of the inning and took a 3-2 lead.
McAllister Park tied it 3-3 in the second on Blake Compton’s homer and took a 4-3 lead in the third when Medina’s double scored Britton Moore.
The real hurt came in the fourth.
Ben Colton’s single was followed by a double from Gibson Maldonado. A New Mexico error allowed the two to score. That was followed, in quick succession, by a fusillade of runs from McAllister Park, which enters the World Series at 14-2.
With a lead in hand, it was up to Tellis’ son Dominic, the starting pitcher, to secure the win.
In New Mexico’s first at-bat after the scoring barrage, Tellis gave up a single and hit the next batter.
Things were getting tense.
Tellis responded. He struck out the next two hitters. Then, with two runners in scoring position, Jacob Coolbaugh scooped up Ty Mancha’s grounder and threw him out at first.
Tellis got two more strikeouts and a ground out in the fifth.
“I was a little shaky in the first,” he said. “But by the fourth inning, I had confidence because of the runs we had scored.”
McAllister Park added three more runs in the sixth to bury the visitors from the Land of Enchantment.
Tim Arguello came in to relieve Tellis, who hit Little League’s 85-pitch limit.
Arguello forced a pop-up, got a strikeout and then, after a fielding error allowed a runner to reach first, watched as Quinones fielded a grounder and threw to Flores-King, who scooped up the low throw for the final out.
The team dog-piled just behind the pitcher’s mound.
After the game, the older Tellis spoke to the team and their parents.
“If you get on social media, you see all of your friends on vacation here and there,” he said. “But we’ve been on a baseball field all summer, with only two days off. That’s because you parents made the commitment. This isn’t just about the kids.”
Tears welled in his eyes.
“This is about the parents, too,”