New York City, represented by The Endwell, beat South Korea 2-1 on Sunday to bring home the Little League World Series (LLWS) for the first time since 2011.
No American team had won the LLWS title since Huntington Beach, California, in 2011. In fact, no New York-based team had won the baseball pageant since Mid Island from Staten Island won the title in 1964.
In what was a thrilling encounter at the Lamade Stadium in Pennsylvania, 22,000 fans chanted “U-S-A, U-S-A!” as future MLB stars prevailed over the mighty Koreans, who won the title in 2014.
Ryan Harlost was the star of the show, limiting the Koreans to just five hits in six innings, besides scoring the critical run on a passed ball during the fourth inning.
“I was a little nervous at first in front of a lot of people but it’s just another game and I felt confident going in,” said the young pitcher who displayed composure while stepping onto the mound.
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LLWS: Ending Asian domination
Since 2011, Japan (Tokyo) won three titles in 2012, 2013 and 2015. Seoul (South Korea) won the title for the first time in the pageant’s history last year.
For a while, it seemed like the title would remain in Asia, especially during an extended run of play when New York’s batters couldn’t score a run.
Korea’s Junho Jeong (1-2) delivered a masterful performance for the better part of three-and-a-half innings which included giving up just two runs on four hits. However, New York’s Jude Abbadessa ended the drought in the fourth inning.
“It’s just been amazing,. Just coming here would be amazing and then our team doing well is even more amazing. It’s been fun the whole week and we’re glad that it turned out this way,” Abbadessa said after the victory.
Meanwhile, Korean manager Heesu Ji praised the New Yorkers and vowed to return stronger next year.
The LLWS, an baseball tournament for budding stars between the ages of 11 and 13, has been an annual tradition since 1947.