SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) — Jae Yeong Hwang drove in two runs and Hae Chan Choi weathered a late Chicago rally to lead South Korea to an 8-4 win in Sunday’s Little League World Series championship game.
Hwang gave up one hit in two-plus innings while striking out four. He also drove in the Asia-Pacific Region champs’ first two runs as they built an 8-1 lead before Jackie Robinson West made it close.
Choi, who had a homer and scored twice, pitched the last four innings for South Korea, which won its third title after back-to-back championships in 1985 and ’85.
International teams have won the last three and four of the last five titles.
Brandon Green went 5 2-3 innings for Chicago, which had survived four straight knockout games before the final.
Dong Wan Sin scored twice, including a solo homer, for the South Koreans.
After the final out, a force play, the Seoul team’s bench emptied and the players dumped cups of water on their teammates near the mound. The players took a victory lap, waving and laughing.
The game was played in bright sunshine and temperatures in the high 70s before a crowd of 28,671 at Lamade Stadium.
South Korean fans, brightly dressed in flowing satin robes of yellow and electric blue, danced with large fans in the latter innings.
Chicago, the Great Lakes Region champions, came back from 3-0 and 5-4 deficits to beat favored West champ Las Vegas Mountain Ridge 7-5 in the U.S. title game on Saturday. Earlier, South Korea, the Asia-Pacific Region winner, rolled over Japan, 12-3.
But they couldn’t come back against the powerful South Koreans, who asserted themselves early.
Leadoff hitter Choi drilled the very first pitch over the wall in right, but a few feet foul. He then flied out deep to right.
Dong Wan Sin followed by smacking a screaming liner to center that slipped out of the glove of DJ Butler for a two-base error. Hwang’s double brought in the first run.
They made it 2-0 in the third. With one out, Choi walked and Sin singled sharply up the middle. After a double steal, Choi came home on Hwang’s ground-out to third.