Michigan defeats Ohio for 1st LLWS since '59

August 29th, 2021

For the first time in 62 years, the state of Michigan is home to the Little League World Series champions.

Jackson Surma drove in four runs and the pitching duo of Ethan Van Belle and Gavin Ulin combined for 10 strikeouts in Taylor North Little League's 5-2 victory over Ohio in the Little League World Series championship game at Howard J. Lamade Stadium in Williamsport, Pa., on Sunday.

Michigan wasted little time in getting on the board thanks to Surma's two-run single as part of a three-run first inning. The line drive to left field scored Ulin, who had walked, and Cameron Thorning, who had singled.

Surma struck again in the fifth, when he padded Michigan's lead by delivering another two-run single up the middle to bring in Ulin and Lucas Farner. Ulin went 2-for-2 with a pair of singles and a walk in the contest.

Van Belle started and threw four strong innings for Michigan, giving up one run on five hits while walking three and striking out eight. The lone run he gave up came in the second, when a Clay Cooper RBI single got Ohio on the board.

Ulin took over on the mound in the fifth and closed out the contest with two innings of relief, yielding a run on one hit, walking three and fanning two. He had some control issues in the sixth, when he hit two batters and walked two to force in a run, but he got Ohio's Chance Retherford to fly out to center to end it, sparking a Michigan celebration.

The Little League World Series title is Michigan's first since 1959, when a team from the city of Hamtramck defeated Auburn, Calif. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no international Little League World Series competition in 2021.