ANDOVER — North Andover slugger Tristan Latham, who stands at 6-feet tall, knew he wasn’t going to get a good pitch to hit, but he hit it anyway.
“They (Andover) went out to the mound and my coach just said, ‘they’re probably going to walk you,’” Latham recalled. “And so that first one, they were going outside and so I moved in and just hit it.”
He didn’t just hit it, he clobbered the pitch, which was far out of the strike zone, way over the right field fence to give North Andover a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the fifth with two outs.
The North Andover Americans held on to win 5-3 over the Andover American squad in Game 1 of their best-of-three Little League District 14 final.
Game 2 is today at 5:30 p.m. at Carl Thomas Field in North Andover.
The homer marked Latham’s second of the district tourney.
Latham also hurled 4.1 innings, allowing two runs in the first inning and one in the second. After that, he settled into a nice groove and kept Andover off the scoreboard with his two-seam fastball.
The right-hander struck out nine batters and walked two.
“I just knew if I gave up there (in the first) we had no shot,” Latham said. “There’s nothing else you can do but pitch your best.”
Latham, who also doubled, already is taller than both his parents who are 5-10.
“I’ve been off the doctor’s charts for a while,” he said. “But my mom’s side is pretty tall.”
North Andover scored three times in the bottom of the fourth to tie it 3-3. North Andover had two hits in the inning but also took advantage of a pair of Andover errors and a passed ball.
“It’s just such a team sport, and you never know what’s going to happen,” Latham said.