Memea's homer completes comeback, lifts Hawaii to Little League title
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Michael Memea rounded third with his right hand held high, barreling toward his jubilant teammates after his home run in the bottom of the seventh capped a stunning comeback to give West Oahu of Ewa Beach, Hawaii, the Little League World Series title.
Memea lined a pitch over the center-field wall with nobody out to finish the 7-6 win Sunday over the defending champions from Willemstad, Curacao. The homer completed the rally from a three-run deficit in the previous inning.
Down 6-3 with runners of second and third and nobody out, Vonn Fe'ao scored from third on a bunt base hit by Ty Tirpak. Zachary Rosete then hit an RBI single to left close the gap to 6-5.
Three batters and one out later, Alaka'i Aglipay hit a bouncer to second that looked like it would be an easy double play, but he beat out the throw to first, allowing Rosete to score the tying run.
Sorick Liberia had broken open a 3-3 game in the fifth with a two-run homer that soared beyond a short hill past the left-field wall. Darren Seferina added a solo shot to give Curacao its three-run lead.
The homers drew loud cheers from the small contingent of Curacao fans holding the country's blue and yellow flag and wearing hats of the same color.
Braves slugger Andruw Jones was hooked to the game on television in Milwaukee after hitting his major league-leading 41st and 42nd home runs during Atlanta's 5-2 win over the Brewers.
Jones is also from Willemstad, and most of Curacao's players at the Little League World Series call him their favorite player.
``It's great to see,'' Jones said in between yelling at the TV and playfully taunting his teammates. ``There's a lot of talent down there.''
The Curacao team from the Pabao Little League was trying to became the first repeat winners in South Williamsport since Long Beach, Calif., won back-to-back titles in 1992-93.
Down a run with two outs in the third, Curacao held a 3-1 lead thanks in part to a confusing play that started with an RBI single to right by Jurickson Profar.
The ball got by outfielder Rosete for an error and on the throw in, Rayshelon Carolina got caught in a rundown but scored after pitcher Quentin Guevara appeared to miss the tag at home.
Profar moved to third amid the confusion, then was singled home by Liberia.
West Oahu's big bats erased any bad memories and the two-run deficit when Kini Enos and Aglipay led off the bottom half of the third with consecutive homers.
West Oahu had a tournament-leading 10 home runs coming into the game but relied on two singles and a wild pitch to score its first run.
Also on Sunday, Ryan Gura lined an RBI single with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a tie and lift Rancho Buena Vista of Vista, Calif. over Chiba City, Japan, 5-4 in the consolation game.
Johnny Dee started the winning rally with a one-out walk. Daniel Gibney blooped a single into left field just out of the reach of Yusuke Taira before Gura hit the game winner.