Chicago's Jackie Robinson West team earned a berth in the 2014 Little League World Series Championship against South Korea after an improbable run through regional and double-elimination tournament play. The United States representative was unable to overcome a very strong South Korean team, though, falling by a score of 8-4.
The International representative got off to a hot start, recording a run in the first inning off a RBI double from Jae Yeong Hwang to take a quick 1-0 lead. After a scoreless second inning, both teams plated one run in the third, bringing the score to 2-1 in South Korea's favor.
MLB's Twitter account followed the action closely:
After tacking on two more runs in the fourth and fifth, South Korea entered the final inning with a 4-1 lead. The team showed off its potent bats in the top of the sixth, bringing home four more runs, beginning with a double from Shane Jaemin Kim, to achieve what appeared to be an insurmountable lead.
Sporting News noted South Korea's Dong Wan Sin incorporating Yasiel Puig's trademark bat flip following a late-game home run:
Illinois found itself down by a seven-run margin entering the bottom of the sixth. That's when it showed the determination, drive and relentlessness that makes the Little League World Series so exciting to watch.
Jackie Robinson West quickly found itself with two runners on base, as Fox 32 News urged the team on:
JRW players on 2nd and 3rd! Come on, boys! #JRWChiPride— FOX 32 News (@fox32news) August 24, 2014
Illinois narrowed the gap to five runs on a two-RBI single from Darion Radcliff. The Chicago Cubs took notice:
The Chicago White Sox chimed in as well:
Soon after, Jackie Robinson West plated yet another run, bringing them ever so closer to the South Korean team. This put them down by four runs with two base-runners aboard. Suddenly, a comeback wasn't so far-fetched.
Former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Anthony Adams was absolutely fired up:
Let's go!!! #JRW— ANTHONY ADAMS (@spiceadams) August 24, 2014
Unfortunately, it wasn't to be, as a groundout to second ended the game and Jackie Robinson West's Cinderella run in the Little League World Series.
ESPN Stats & Info tweeted America's updated record against International teams in the championship game:
South Korea wins #LLWS. American teams are now 15-34 all-time against international teams in LLWS championship games.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 24, 2014
Kudos went out to both teams upon the game's conclusion, as South Korea proved to be very worthy champions, and Illinois captivated the nation with its commendable performance.
SportsCenter tweeted South Korea's dominance in Williamsport:
Meanwhile, a couple of Chicago's professional sports teams rallied behind the city's young athletes:
NBA legend Isaiah Thomas tweeted his message to all of the game's players:
Once again, the Little League World Series has inspired a great deal of onlookers from around the world. There were various teams and players who impressed and many captivating storylines, and Sunday's action was a perfect capper.
After watching the persistence and passion these competitors have for the game, it's certainly safe to say the future of baseball looks extremely bright.