Levi Rudolph, Calvin Hermanson combine for a two-hitter to lead LO into national semis

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - The Lake Oswego Little League all-star team guaranteed itself a spot in the U.S. semifinals of the Little League World Series after beating Hamilton, Ohio 6-1 in today's final round of pool play.

It was a must-win game for both teams and Lake Oswego seems to play its best in those situations. The Lakers faced two must-win games before beating Washington in the Northwest Regionals nine days ago. Then, after losing its first game in Williamsport, the Oregon champs had to win twice, including today's game, to advance to the next round.

With the pressure on, Lake Oswego responded with possibly its best game of the World Series tournament. The Lakers set the tone by taking a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, which included a lead-off home run by second baseman Austin Andrews. Duncan Campbell then followed with a single and also came around to score to give the Lakers their early cushion.

The Ohio team got its only run of the game in the top of the second after Brandon Green walked and later scored on John Cornett's single.

But that was the only shaky inning that Lake Oswego pitcher Levi Rudolph had all day. After experiencing control problems in the tournament's opening game against Georgia, Rudolph held the Ohio team to two hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings.

Because of Little League Baseball's pitch-count limitation, Rudolph had to leave the mound at that point. He handed the ball over to Calvin Hermanson, who worked the final inning and a third for his second save in as many games.

The Lakers were up 4-1 when Hermanson took over, thanks to runs by Rudolph and Michael Weiss in the bottom of the fourth. The Lakers made it 6-1 in the fifth when Hermanson doubled home Harrison Ramey and then Andrews singled in Hermanson.

The national semifinal games are scheduled for Thursday, but the remainder of today's games still must be played to determine who Lake Oswego will play next.

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