Japan vs. Huntington Beach: Fans Treated to Sizzling Championship Game
Japan and Huntington Beach proved in the Little League World Series Championship Game on Sunday that they were the best teams in the world.
Japan got to the Championship Game with its pitching and highlight-reel defense. Huntington Beach was simply dominant throughout, posting some lopsided victories en route to the championship.
So it was fitting that Sunday's championship game came down to the bottom of the last inning, with both teams tied, 1-1, and that California's star little leaguer Nick Pratto punched home the game-winning single.
Pratto, who also pitched spectacularly in the Series, had been a star for Huntington Beach throughout, joined by Hagen Danner, who also was a threat as both a hitter and a pitcher.
California's biggest foe was indeed Japan in the Series, a team that figured to match up well with its pitching and defense, and proved it on Sunday. Coming into Sunday's 2-1 championship win, California had already scored at least 10 runs in three separate games, shutting out their opponent in two of those games.
Huntington Beach was down to its last out of the inning with the bases loaded before Pratto smacked the game-winner into the outfield. Japan had just exacted a force play at home plate the play before.
The entire game was tense, from the moment the game was delayed more than three hours because of Hurricane Irene.
Althought Japan's Kazuto Takakura gave up the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning, he also made a great catch on the line while playing right field in the second inning that saved a run.
In the top of the sixth inning, with men on first and second, California's Dylan Palmer blocked third base from sliding Japan runner Ken Igeta on a bunt play that effectively ended Japan's threat and precluded Pratto's game-winning single.
It was everything you could hope for in the Little League World Series.
And both teams should be proud of themselves after such a performance.
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