Nationals hold on to beat Phillies 4-3 in Williamsport

Washington Nationals' Dominic Smith slid down the hill with Little League Baseball World Series players on Sunday ahead of their game with the Phillies.

Major League Baseball’s coolest new tradition returned on Sunday afternoon.

The Washington Nationals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 in the latest edition of the Little League Classic on Sunday at Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The iconic little league field was packed with players and parents from teams competing in the Little League Baseball World Series this month in one of the best and most unique atmospheres in all of sports.

The night kicked off with the ceremonial first pitch, which featured one player from all 20 teams in a chain starting out in center field. And, in true Little League World Series fashion, there was plenty of hill sliding, games in the outfield and even an ice cream launcher.

There were a lot of special, custom bats used throughout the night, too. Phillies second baseman Bryson Stott pulled one out that looked like a classic No. 2 pencil during his first plate appearance.

The Nationals flew ahead early in the first inning, and held onto their lead the rest of the way. Keibert Ruiz hit a two RBI double to kick things off, and then Dominic Smith hit a two RBI single to score Ruiz and Joey Meneses. That gave Washington a 4-0 lead right off the bat.

The Phillies finally rallied in the ninth inning, though it was still too late. Brandon Marsh hit an RBI single to score Stott to get them on the board, and then Jake Cave hit a two-run home run to right field to bring the Phillies within just a single run. That push, however, came with two outs on the board. The Nationals held on and took the one-run win. Trevor Williams threw four strikeouts and allowed two hits in his six innings on the mound for Washington, while Zack Wheeler allowed four runs and seven hits in his seven innings for Philadelphia.

The win for Washington came just one day after they were blown out 12-3 at Nationals Park. The Nationals, who sit 24 games back in last in the NL East, have now won seven of their last nine games. The Phillies have now lost five of their last seven. They trail the Atlanta Braves by 13 games in the NL East, though they’re leading the NL wild card race.

Major League Baseball first introduced the Little League Classic in 2017, and it’s been a hit ever since. The league announced that the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees will play in the game next summer, too. It will mark both teams’ first time competing in the event.

The Little League Baseball World Series started on Thursday in Pennsylvania. The United States and International championship games are set for Saturday. The winners of those games will then square off on Sunday in the championship. The team from Massapequa, New York, won the Little League Softball World Series earlier this month.