Hawaii - United States Little League World Series Champions !
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa., -- Hawaii's offensive punch followed
Japan's stirring win in extra innings to create some high drama at the
Little League World Series.
Now, the two teams will meet Sunday to decide
who flies home with a World Series title.
Ryo Motegi's RBI grounder through the infield with two outs
gave Tokyo, Japan, a 3-2 win over Kaoshiung, Chinese Taipei, to claim
the international title Saturday, before Noah Shackles' two-run homer to
center capped a four-run first for the boys from Waipahu, Hawaii, in a
10-0 win over Pearland, Texas, in the U.S. championship.
Shackles finished 2 for 2 with three runs, and lefty Ezra
Heleski allowed just two hits for the local Waipio Little League from
Waipahu trying to win its second tournament crown in three years. The
game ended with one out in the fifth because of Little League's 10-run
"USA! USA!," chanted the Hawaii fans afterward. Many held
mini-state flags and ti leaves they have been waving in the stands all
week for good luck.
After avoiding elimination four straight days, Hawaii has one
more big game to go. Their blowout victory on a picture-perfect summer
afternoon was in sharp contrast to Japan's tight win.
"I wanted to connect, and I was aiming for center," the
13-year-old Motegi said through interpreter Brian Thompson.
And that's about where the ball ended up after just slipping
past shortstop Chen-Wei Chen into left center, allowing pinch-runner
Ryusuke Ikeda to score the winning run.
Japan exchanged high-fives at the plate, shook hands with the
saddened Taiwan players, then posed with the international championship
banner at the mound.
"Very happy," Motegi simply said about the postgame
Chinese Taipei came within two outs of doing the celebrating
with reliever Shao-Fei Huang cruising on the mound into the
Leadoff hitter Koutaro Kamikura's one-hopper handcuffed the
third baseman and slipped into left before Huang got a strikeout.
Kamikura advanced to second on a throwing error off a pickoff attempt
before Ryota Norimatsu's solid single up the middle tied the game at
"The staff, especially the kids, they believed in themselves,
so they didn't feel the pressure too much," manager Shingo Ariyasu
Japan beat one of the tournament's most fearsome teams at the
plate, after Chinese Taipei had outscored opponents 46-1 over its first
three games. Taiwan took a 2-1 lead in the second after Shang-Yu Wu hit a
fluke double that deflected off of Japan starter Natsuki Mizumachi into
left, then later scored on a wild pitch.
Instead, it will be a Japan team playing for the title for the
first time since 2007 to try to snap the United States' five-year run as
Little League champs.
"It was a 50-50 game," Chinese Taipei manager Tung-Yo Ho said
through interpreter Ming-Huang Yeh. "Good defense and making contact was
going to win this game and Japan did that a little better than
Copyright 2010 by The Associated