International Championship Game
Tokyo, Japan - 3
Chinese Taipei - 2
The International Championship between Chinese Taipei and Japan featured two perennial contenders for Little League World Series glory, and took more than the requisite six innings to crown Tokyo, Japan as the winner of the International bracket, on a walk-off single by Ryo Motegi in the bottom of the seventh.
Chinese Taipei had dominated their previous opponents to the tune of 46-1 in three wins leading up to today's game with Japan. Japan’s team had been battle-tested, having eeked out two victories against a tough Mexico squad, in which their margin of victory was a total of three runs.
The two regional rivals from countries thousands of miles away from Pennsylvania put on a tense nailbiter of a game that featured excellent pitching, extremely solid defense, and aggressive baserunning on both sides.
Japan became the first team to open up a lead on Chinese Taipei thus far in the tournament, plating their first runner in the bottom of the first. A one out walk plus a wild pitch set the stage for Ichiro Ogasawara (favorite player: Seattle Mariner Ichiro Suzuki), who ripped an RBI double down the left field line.
Chinese Taipei made a pitching change with only one out in the first and it proved to be a turning point in the game. Shao-Fei Huang moved from third base to the pitcher’s mound and proceeded to pitch 6 and 1/3 innings of dominant ball, striking out nine.
Chinese Taipei answered right back in the top of the second, almost duplicating Japan’s rally by starting with a lead-off walk, followed by a run-scoring single from Shang-Yu Wu to tie the score at one. Wu came around to score without another hit in the inning thanks to a fielder’s choice, bunt and wild pitch, and Chinese Taipei opened a 2-1 lead that they held until the final inning.
Japan tied the game in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a leadoff single, followed by an errant pickoff throw by Chinese Taipei’s catcher allowing the runner to move to second. Ryota Norimatsu then lined a single through the middle that plated the tying run.
The bottom of the seventh was the decisive inning, with a one-out single, followed by a wild pitch by a tiring Shao-Fei Huang. Ryo Motegi was the hero, bouncing a ball just out of the reach of Chinese Taipei’s shortstop that sent the Tokyo squad to the Little League World Series final. This marks a Japanese team’s 14th appearance in the title game. Chinese Taipei plays in the Consolation Game on Sunday morning against Pearland, TX.
United States Championship Game
Waipio, Hawaii - 10
Pearland, Texas - 0
The kids from Waipio, Hawaii continued their improbable run through the tournament by beating the team from Pearland, Texas by the score of 10-0 in five innings.
Hawaii has played five consecutive elimination games after losing their tournament opener, and became the first team in Little League World Series history to win four games on four consecutive days. They will now face Japan in the title game, hoping to make it five wins in five days.
With a depleted pitching staff missing their primary starters, Ezra Heleski pitched five shutout innings, allowing only two hits while striking out six. He also chipped in two hits and an RBI, making him the hands-down player of the game.
Waipio jumped out to a lead in the first inning thanks to a two-run double by Kaimana Bartolome. Noah Shackles followed with a two-run home run over the center field fence, staking Hawaii to a 4-0 lead after one inning. They would add three more runs in the bottom of the third, and then end the game thanks to Little League’s 10 run rule.
Texas will now face Chinese Taipei in the Consolation Game, which will take place tomorrow at 11:00 AM EST and will air on ESPN, also streaming online at ESPN3.com. The full schedule for tomorrow’s final day of the Little League World Series is below.
Schedule for Sunday, August 29 – Little League World Series
Chinese Taipei vs. Pearland, Texas
11:00 AM EST
ESPN (TV) and ESPN3.com (Internet Stream)
Waipio, Hawaii vs. Tokyo, Japan
Little League World Series Championship Game
3:00 PM EST
ABC (TV) and ESPN3.com (Internet Stream)