The Detroit News
Published 6:59 PM EDT Aug 24, 2019
South Williamsport, Pa. — Ryder Planchard’s pinch-hit single broke a scoreless tie in the fifth inning, and Louisiana beat Hawaii 9-5 on Saturday to advance to the Little League World Series title game.
Louisiana earned its first championship game appearance, while denying Hawaii a chance to defend the title a team from Honolulu won last year. This Hawaii club is from Maui, while Louisiana – representing the Southwest region – is from River Ridge.
Marshall Louque followed Ryder’s single with a two-run double off the wall in left, and Louisiana scored twice on passed balls to build a five-run lead.
Reece Roussel broke the LLWS record for hits in the tournament with his 15th, a two-run single in the sixth. Marshall then tripled to left, knocking in two more runs and giving Louisiana a 9-0 lead.
But Hawaii wasn’t done. The Maui club scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth before Louisiana shortstop Stan Wiltz ended the game with an unassisted double play.
Louisiana will take on Curacao on Sunday for the Little League World Series championship. This marks the first time two clubs from the elimination bracket have made the tournament final since the field was expanded to 16 teams in 2001.
Curacao 5, Japan 4: As soon as the ball came off his bat, Curley Martha pointed to the sky — he knew that one was gone.
Curley hit a two-run homer to center in the fifth inning and got the final 11 outs as a relief pitcher, helping Curacao beat Japan to advance to the Little League World Series title game.
Japan loaded the bases in the sixth but Curley got out of the jam after a wild pitch scored two runs and put the tying run at third base. Ryohei Ushikubo hit a line drive toward the left centerfield gap, but Keven Rosina made the catch.
“It was a little bit scary,” Curacao manager Michelangelo Celestina said.
Curley and Shendrion Martinus combined to hold a Japan team that scored 32 runs in its first three games to four runs and five hits. Shendrion also contributed with his bat, providing a two-run double in the third.
The team from Willemstad fought back from a loss to South Korea last weekend, winning four straight games to reach the final on Sunday. Curacao will face either Hawaii or Louisiana at Lamade Stadium and aim for its second Little League title.
The Pabao Little League, with current Oakland Athletics infielder Jurickson Profar on its roster, won it in 2004.
Profar’s youngest brother, Jurdrick, caught all six innings of Saturday’s game and added a double and a pair of runs for Curacao.
Japan has won five Little League championships in this decade.
The Japanese team came from Chofu, with a population of 230,000 — larger than the entire island of Curacao, which has 162,000 residents.
“It feels like we are on the map again,” Celestina said.