South Dakota’s Gavin Weir is quickly becoming the star of the 2021 Little League World Series.
The 12-year-old lefty from the Sioux Falls team tossed a complete-game no-hitter with 14 strikeouts and one walk on just 83 pitches in 1-0 victory over the team from Torrance, Calif., on Wednesday.
Though Weir completed the job under the 85-pitch maximum, he wanted to have done more on the hill.
“I wish I could throw a perfect game, but it’s still fun,” Weir told ESPN after the game.
With two outs in the fifth inning, Weir was at 65 pitches and had a conference at the mound with manager Mike Gorsett. If Weir had been taken out of the game, he could throw again in the title game (if the team advances that far) Sunday.
But the skipper wanted to let his ace finish the job.
“The whole world wants to see you pitch Sunday,” Gorsett said during the mound visit. “Listen to me, you’re not coming out of this game. You’re gonna shove it right now and you got four outs to go and we’re in the championship game [of the Tom Seaver Bracket].
“Go be my horse right now and get me four more outs.”
Weir did just that, punctuating his final pitch of the game with a swinging punch-out.
But the 5-foot-5 Weir didn’t throw this gem out of nowhere — he has been dominant all summer long.
In his first start of the Little League World Series on Aug. 20, Weir was unhittable against Lafayette, La.’s team with a 15-strikeout, two-walk outing over 5 2/3 innings before Cason Mediger recorded the final out for that no-no.
So far in Williamsport, Pa., Weir has whiffed 76 percent of the total batters he has faced, in 11 2/3 innings.
Going back to district play, Weir has been as close to perfect as one can come. In eight games, he has thrown 43 2/3 scoreless innings and 609 pitches while allowing just one hit with 114 strikeouts and six walks.
The youngster — who throws in the low 70-mph range, which translates roughly to the low-90s from a big league mound — is quickly drawing comparisons to All-Star hurlers, most notably Chris Sale.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” Weir said of the comps. “To be compared to a major leaguer is cool.”
South Dakota will play the winner of Thursday’s game between California and Hamilton, Ohio, on Saturday to determine who advances to the final game.
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