The Columbia All-Stars kept their dreams alive Thursday at Little League Baseball’s 11-and-12 year-old Midwest Regional in Indianapolis.
Columbia, the Missouri champions, defeated Minnesota 8-1. Minnesota was 3-0 in the tournament, but Columbia (2-2) needed the victory to advance into the semifinals after losing 8-3 to Iowa on Wednesday night.
Going into the game, manager Mark Pfeiffer said he had no doubts about his team.
“I knew what we were going to do today,” Pfeiffer said. “I didn’t know if we would win, but I knew these kids were going to fight.”
Starting pitcher Robert DeGraaff (5-0 in the postseason) gave up four hits, striking out five and walking one.
“We expect to win whenever Robert DeGraaff is on the mound,” Pfeiffer said.
D.J. Christensen hit a grand slam for the All-Stars in the fifth inning, and had five RBIs. Leadoff batter Charlie Henderson went 3-for-4.
Columbia, the final team to qualify for the semifinals, will face No. 1 seed Iowa at 8 tonight. Christensen will be the starter for No. 4 Columbia. No. 2 seed Minnesota plays No. 1 seed South Dakota in the other semifinal.
This is the first Columbia Little League team to play at the regional level. If Columbia wins the tournament, it will play advance to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn., which starts Aug. 29.