WILLIAMSPORT, Pa — A long rain delay didn't stop Holbrook Little League of Jackson as it held off a comeback by the West region team from Rancho Santa Margarita, California, 12-9.

The Little League World Series elimination game Monday was stopped in the first inning for the rain but then the Mid Atlantic champs scored three runs in the second and nine in the third for the win. R.J. Vashey homered in both innings, and Chris Cartnick got the win.

"Give the kids from California credit as they rallied and it took solid relief from Chris Cartnick to secure their second straight win in the loser's bracket," Kevin Williams of the Shore Sports Network said of Holbrook's win.

A painted rock in honor of Holbrook Little League
A painted rock in honor of Holbrook Little League (Holbrook Little League)

"We're very proud of them. They played Holbrook baseball again today," Holbrook League President Tony Del Vecchio told New Jersey 101.5. He said while the parents don't have much contact with the kids, the team appears to be real loose and all smiles.

"They all joke around. When they're on the field they're having a blast. They're signing autographs, they're getting phone numbers from girls. They're rock stars right now. They're having a great time," Del Vecchio said.

It's been a long haul for the parents, some of whom have not been home in four weeks as they went from Jackson to Bristol for the Mid Atlantic tournament and then to Williamsport.

"But it's a once in a lifetime chance. You can go to Disney World anytime," Del Vecchio said.

Manager Rob Grano said he got the team back on track after Thursday's loss by focusing on the basics and playing good defense, something he knows the team hasn't shown a lot of in Williamsport.

"That's kind of been the basis of our team since they were little kids. We play really good defense," Grano said. "For we have to just win and survive."

Holbrook has to win another two games in order to advance to the United States championship on Saturday.

Grano also keeps the team grounded by keeping as much of the same schedule as of they were in Jackson.

"It's just a field, We're doing the same things you've done since you've done since you were 7 or 8 years old. Just stay with your plan, don't try to do too much," Grano said.

But being in Williamsport does make for some welcome distractions.

The team met members of the St. Lours Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates, who played a game in Williamsport on Sunday.

"My son next stat next to (Pirates outfielder) Andrew McCutchen on the team bus. Sometimes it's hard to come down from that," Grano said.

Holbrook plays the winner of Monday night's game between the Northwest and New England on Tuesday night. The New England team from Fairfield, Conn. beat Holbrook in its first game.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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