For Pete's Sake

Royals’ first-round pick once won the Little League World Series

Huntington Beach, Calif.'s Nick Pratto, center, celebrated with teammates after driving in the winning run with a walk-off single off Hamamatsu City, Japan, pitcher Kazuto Takakura to win the Little League World Series Championship baseball game in South Williamsport, Pa., on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. California won 2-1.
Huntington Beach, Calif.'s Nick Pratto, center, celebrated with teammates after driving in the winning run with a walk-off single off Hamamatsu City, Japan, pitcher Kazuto Takakura to win the Little League World Series Championship baseball game in South Williamsport, Pa., on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. California won 2-1. AP

We know this much about Royals’ first-round pick Nick Pratto: he doesn’t shy away from the big moments.

Pratto, who recently graduated from Huntington Beach High School, delivered the game-winning hit in the 2011 Little League World Series. Ocean View Little League, from Huntington Beach, Calif., defeated Japan 2-1 in a walk-off win in Williamsport, Pa.

And it was Pratto, who was picked 14th overall in the MLB Draft on Monday night, who had the hit that won the game.

In the bottom of the sixth inning (the last frame of a Little League World Series game), the score was tied 1-1, but Ocean View had the bases loaded with two outs. Pratto stepped up and singled home the winning run.

“It was a weird moment for me because I remember not expecting to get up,” Pratto told MLBdailydish.com. “I was the last possible hitter to be able to get up. I remember walking up to the plate surprised that I even got that opportunity. I was waiting in the dugout just wanting it. I walked up to the plate and it wasn’t even like the stage mattered. I just walked up like it was a normal at-bat.”

That’s how he remembers it today.

But in talking to the Los Angeles Times in 2011 after his big hit, Pratto said: “I was just thinking, ‘Oh God, oh God, oh God,’ before I was getting into the box. But once I got into the box I calmed myself by telling myself to just look for a good pitch.”

Here is the clutch hit (with Brent Musburger on the call):

Here is the introduction of the team, and you’ll see that Pratto’s favorite player at the time was Joey Votto. I’d say Royals fans would be thrilled if Pratto ended up having the same success in the majors as Votto.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

  Comments