SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - Sometimes a walk is as good as a hit.
On Wednesday, a walk was as good as a three-base hit for Chandler National in the Little League West Regional.
Jake McCann drew what turned out to be a base-clearing walk, a wacky play that put Chandler National in the lead, and the Arizona champs went on to beat Waipio, Hawaii, 7-4, at Al Houghton Stadium.
McCann came to the plate in the third inning with runners on first and third and Chandler trailing 2-1. He drew a base on balls. It set off one of those plays that proves Little League is Little League, even at the most advanced level.
Ball four bounced to the screen, allowing Kyle Pechloff to score from third. Catcher Westin Fabro compounded the problem by throwing wildly to second base. Dalton Krum came around to score, McCann went to third, and Chandler National had a 3-2 edge, its first lead of the game.
Skyler Palermo followed with an RBI single to make it 4-2.
Starter Seth Fretheim and reliever Krum were able to hold Hawaii at bay the rest of the way. Fretheim went 4 2/3 innings, struck out six and scattered seven hits.
Krum got the last four outs and yielded just one hit.
Chandler National finished pool play 4-0 and advanced to today’s semifinals at 8 p.m. as the No. 1 seed. Chandler National will play the No. 4 seed, Solana Beach Little League, the Southern California champ. Solanan Beach beat the Northern California champs, Moreland District out of San Jose, 9-3, late Wednesday.
The West Regional final is 6 p.m. Saturday and will be shown on ESPN. The winner advances to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
“We haven’t thought about Williamsport,’’ Chandler National manager Jeff Parrish said. “We’re just trying to play one at a time.”
Chandler National entered Wednesday’s game with nothing to gain. Waipio entered in an ambiguous situation. A win would enhance its position but not necessarily seal a spot in the final four. A loss would not necessarily eliminate Waipio.
“No matter who we play, all the teams left will be good teams,” Parrish said.
Parrish said he felt his team came into Wednesday’s game feeling some residual effects from Tuesday’s late night victory over Green Valley from Nevada, a showdown of unbeatens.
“You’d like to think that no matter what, you’d play your best,’’ he said. “Our focus was a little off.”
Cody Bellinger went 2-for-3 with two runs scored for Chandler National, and Edgar Galiz drove in two runs with a double.
The game started well for Waipio. Christian Donahue led off with a double. Chad Uyehara followed with a single that moved Donahue to third.
Paris Khade hit a grounder that Fretheim fielded. He threw to shortstop Luke Parrish, who stepped on second and threw to Bellinger at first to complete the double play.
Donahue scored, but the big inning was avoided.
Waipio added a second run in the second. Jordan Stevens was hit with a pitch and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Michael Horita.
Chandler took the lead in the third. Fretheim led off with a single. Bellinger walked.
One out later, Pechloff reached on a fielder’s choice. Bellinger scored on a wild pitch.
Krum walked, setting the stage for McCann’s base-clearing walk.
Little League West Regional
When: Through Saturday
Where: San Bernardino, Calif.
CHANDLER NATIONAL’S SCHEDULE
Today: Semifinal, 8 p.m. vs. Northern California or Southern California champion
Saturday: Championship, 6 p.m. on ESPN