SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Powerful Petaluma, Calif., can pitch, too.
Hance Smith's three-run homer in the third broke open a tight game, and reliever-turned-starter Quinton Gago struck out seven over 5 1-3 innings in a 5-0 win Tuesday night over Fairfield, Conn., in the Little League World Series.
California moves on to the U.S. semifinals on Thursday night. Connecticut was eliminated.
The 12-year-old Gago said it was the best performance of his young career, even though he was a little nervous when the night started.
"In the back of my mind, I said 'I am not a starter,'" Gago said as he held on to an ice pack strapped to his left shoulder. "But right as I took the mound, I felt it went away."
Nuevo Laredo, Mexico also is moving on after a 6-2 victory over Willemstad, Curacao, and Lugazi, Uganda made the biggest splash Tuesday with a win in its tournament finale.
The first team from Africa to qualify for youth baseball's biggest tournament notched another first with a 3-2 victory over Gresham, Ore. in a consolation game.