#SportsReport: Hawaii Beats South Korea 3-0 In Little League World Series
It only took one pitch for Mana Lau Kong to deliver Hawaii its first Little League World Series title in a decade.
Against a South Korea team that hadn't surrendered a home run in the tournament, Kong drove the first pitch his team saw over the center field fence. As he rounded the bases and headed home, his teammates poured out of the dugout in a pack led by pitcher Ka'olu Holt and formed a huddle around home plate.
"It was great," Holt said, "because we all knew that pitcher was tough to hit."
Holt took it from there, throwing a two-hitter to lead Hawaii to a 3-0 victory in the Little League World Series championship, the first shutout in a title game since 2002. It was Holt's first-ever complete game.
The team from Honolulu allowed just three runs in the entire tournament, shut out four of its five opponents and struck out 53 batters in 34 innings.
"Someone asked me, what's the strength of the team, and I honestly have to say, it's that they play as a team," Hawaii manager Gerald Oda said. "Ka'olu pitching, or Aukai (Kea) pitching, Mana hitting a home run, it's everybody just doing the best that they can do. Once they bought in and once they accepted their roles, it makes my job a lot easier."
In the bottom of the second inning, Hawaii had the bases loaded with no outs, but failed to score. So Oda took a more aggressive approach on the basepaths with two runners in scoring position in the third.
Pinch-runner Zachary Won scored Hawaii's second run on a wild pitch from starter Kim Yeong-hyeon. As catcher Kim Gi-jeong chased the ball, Oda sent Taylin Oana all the way home from second to give Hawaii its third run.
In the stands, Hawaii's fans, waving tea leaves for luck, started to mix their signature "Hon-o-lu-lu!" chants with "U-S-A!"
The victory marks the first time a Hawaiian team has won the Little League World Series since 2008. It is now one of seven U.S. states with at least three LLWS titles. All of Hawaii's championships have come in the past 13 years.
Seoul, South Korea, has played in the three of the last six LLWS title games, but won only once — in 2014. It lost in 2016 to Maine-Endwell, New York.
"It was equally the same thing, from 2016 to 2018," South Korea manager Su Ji-hee, who was also a member of the coaching staff of the 2016 team, said through a translator. "After the game, the kids were crying, they feel sorry for themselves."
At the conclusion of a six-pitch final inning, Hawaii's players tossed their gloves and hats as high as they could, and sprinted to the mound to form another celebratory huddle.
"It felt really great because barely any Hawaii teams get to be in this moment and feel what it feels like meeting other people from around the world, to playing baseball against them too," Kong said.
After finally achieving what his team set out to accomplish at the beginning of the summer, Oda can't wait to return home to his family.
As for the kids? They want to see their families, too, but they have other plans.
"I want to go to the beach," Holt said.
The AL East race has become interesting again after the first-place Boston Red Sox were swept in a three-game series against Tampa Bay.
The Rays earned their eighth straight win as Blake Snell threw two-hit ball over six innings of a 9-1 thrashing of the Red Sox. Snell improved to 16-5 and made it 14 consecutive home starts without allowing more than one run.
Matt Duffy had three hits and drove in two runs for the Rays, who completed their first undefeated homestand of more than one series.
The Bosox have lost six of eight and were outscored 24-5 in the three-game set at St. Petersburg. Their division lead dropped to six games over the Yankees, eight days after sitting 10 ½ games ahead of New York. Boston has the night off as they get ready to host the Marlins Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The Yanks completed a four-game sweep and won for the eighth time in nine games as rookie Luke Voit went 3-for-3 with a two-run homer in a 5-3 victory against the Orioles. Miguel Andujar also had three hits and two RBIs to back Luis Severino, who picked up his major league-high 17th victory by holding Baltimore to two earned runs and four hits over 5 2/3 innings.
The Birds dropped their eighth in a row and fell to a major league-worst 37-94.
The Yanks host the White Sox Monday at 7 p.m.
Checking out Sunday's other major league finals:
The Astros notched their fifth straight win and kept their 1 ½-game lead over Oakland atop the AL West by knocking off the Angels, 3-1. Framber Valdez gave up one run and two hits over five innings of his first career start to help Houston improve to 47-21 on the road. Carlos Correa lined a two-run single with the bases loaded to open the scoring in the third inning.
The Athletics were 6-2 winners at Minnesota as Matt Chapman homered twice and Jed Lowrie drove in three runs with a homer and double. Oakland starter Chris Bassitt allowed one run on four hits in 4 2/3 innings following his sixth call-up this season. The A's improved to 56-0 when leading after seven innings.
Cleveland's 12-5 pounding of the Royals gives the Indians a whopping 13-game edge in the AL Central, matching their largest lead this season. Jason Kipnis was 4-for-5 with an inside-the-park home run and four RBIs to back a shaky Shane Bieber, who surrendered three longballs and four runs over 5 1/3 innings to move to 8-2. Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run homer for the Indians, who also received two RBIs apiece from Francisco Lindor and Greg Allen.
Paul Goldschmidt banged out his 30th home run and Zack Greinke notched his first victory in five starts as the Diamondbacks knocked off the Mariners, 5-2. Goldschmidt's three-run blast was part of a five-run third that helped Greinke improve to 13-8. Greinke allowed an unearned run and five hits over 6 2/3s as Arizona regained sole possession of first place in the NL West by one game over Colorado.
The Cardinals rolled to a 12-3 rout of the Rockies as Matt Carpenter tied a team record with four doubles. Austin Gomber provided a two-run infield single and Tyler O'Neill added a two-run homer while the Redbirds scored six times in the first off Tyler Anderson. Gomber also gave up one earned run and five hits over six innings to become the Cards' first lefty starter to win at Coors Field since Kent Mercker in 1999.
David Bote belted a two-run homer and had three RBIs as the Cubs crushed the Reds, 9-0. Kyle Schwarber also went deep and Jason Heyward was 4-for-4 with a triple and two ribbies. Kyle Hendricks limited Cincinnati to a pair of hits over seven shutout innings to help NL Central leaders stay four games ahead of St. Louis and 4 ½ in front of the Brewers.
Milwaukee's 7-4 win over Pittsburgh keeps the Brewers 4 ½ games off the NL Central lead and puts them one game ahead of Colorado for the second NL wild-card berth. Mike Moustakas and Manny Piña each hit a two-run homer in the third inning and Jonathan Schoop added a solo shot in the seventh. The Brewers rocked Chris Archer for six runs and six hits in the third, when two missed catches in the outfield created trouble for Pittsburgh.
Kevin Gausman and four relievers combined on a two-hitter in the Braves' 4-0 shutout of the Marlins. Gausman won his fourth consecutive start and improved to 4-1 with a 1.69 ERA in five outings since joining the Braves from Baltimore. Ronald Acuna Jr. had two hits and made a diving catch in left field to help Atlanta keep its three-game lead over Philadelphia in the NL East.
The Phillies avoided a three-game sweep by belting four home runs in an 8-3 win at Toronto. Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana hit back-to-back home runs and Maikel Franco and Wilson Ramos each had two-run shots as the Phils won for only the second time in eight games. Vince Velasquez allowed two runs and three hits in five innings to even his record at 9-9.
Justin Turner drove in five runs and Manny Machado supplied a go-ahead, two-run homer as the Dodgers whipped the Padres, 7-3 to complete a three-game sweep. Hyun-Jin Ryu surrendered 11 hits but just two runs over 5 2/3s. The victory kept the third-place Dodgers 2 1/2 games back of the NL West-leading DBacks.
The Nationals had gone 32 innings without scoring and had been shut out in three straight games before erupting in a 15-0 dismantling of the Mets. Trea Turner doubled and scored Washington's first run since Wednesday, giving the Nats a 1-0 lead in the sixth. Mark Reynolds added a grand slam and pinch-hitter Bryce Harper delivered a three-run double while the Nationals scored 14 times over the final two innings. The Mets take on the cubs Monday at 8:05 p.m.
Michael Kopech picked up his first win in two starts since his recall last week, giving up a run and seven hits over six innings of the White Sox's 7-2 win at Detroit. Kopech shut out the Tigers for the first five innings, three days after issuing an apology for racist and homophobic tweets that surfaced from 2013. Daniel Palka's two-run blast capped a four-run third off losing pitcher Jordan Zimmermann.
Also around the majors:
Athletics left-hander Sean Manaea has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a left shoulder impingement. Manaea is 12-9 with a 3.59 ERA in 27 starts this season, recording 108 strikeouts and 32 walks in 160 2/3 innings. He threw a no-hitter in April against Boston. Manaea is tied for second in the American League in games started, ninth in innings pitched, and sixth in fewest walks per nine innings with 1.79.
Troy Tulowitzki insists he wants to regain his job as everyday shortstop for the Blue Jays next season, even though the five-time All-Star has not played in more than a year. Tulowitzki had surgery to remove bone spurs from both heels in early April and was ruled out for the season Saturday. He expects to be healthy in time for spring training.
Catholic Boy pulled away from Mendelssohn down the stretch and captured the $1.25 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday. Catholic Boy and Mendelssohn were at the front of the pack heading to the top of the stretch before jockey Javier Castellano put Catholic Boy in the lead, and he pulled away to win by four lengths. It was Castellano's sixth win in the Travers, extending his record.
Receiver Eric Decker says he is retiring from the NFL after an eight-year career with the Broncos, Jets and Titans.
Decker had been in training camp with the Patriots this summer, but it wasn't clear he would make the roster.
Decker caught 439 passes for 5,816 yards and 53 touchdowns in his career.
True freshman Adrian Martinez has been named Nebraska's starting quarterback for the opener against Akron on Saturday.
Martinez was No. 1 on the Cornhuskers' depth chart released Sunday, beating out redshirt freshman Tristan Gebbia in a close competition. He will be the first true freshman in program history to start an opener at quarterback.
Bryson DeChambeau closed out a four-shot win at The Northern Trust, the first tournament in the FedEx Cup playoffs.
DeChambeau began the final round four strokes ahead and fired a 2-under 69 in his second victory of the year. He also made a strong case for being selected as one of the captain's picks for the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
Tony Finau was second, one shot ahead of Cameron Smith and Billy Horschel. Tiger Woods was 14 strokes back.
Scott Parel won the Boeing Classic for his first PGA Tour Champions title, birdieing the final six holes on the front nine in a 9-under 63.
Parel began the round five strokes back before finishing 18 under to beat second-round co-leader Kevin Sutherland by three strokes. Parel was tied for the first-round lead after a 65, then dropped back Saturday with a 70.
Brooke Henderson became the first Canadian in 45 years to win the country's national championship.
The 20-year-old Henderson closed with a 7-under 65 for a four-stroke victory over Angel Yin in the CP Women's Open in Saskatchewan. Henderson opened with rounds of 66, 66 and 70 to take a one-stroke lead over Yin and Nasa Hataoka into the final round.
Sebastian Vettel made a crucial early overtaking move on Lewis Hamilton to win the crash-marred Belgian Grand Prix and trim his rival's overall lead.
Hamilton started from the pole position for a record fifth time at Spa, and a record-extending 78th in Formula One, with Vettel second on the grid.
Vettel finished about 12 seconds clear of Hamilton, with Red Bull driver Max Verstappen an impressive third after starting seventh.
Vettel's 52nd career win closes the gap to Hamilton to 17 points heading into next weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
© 2018 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.