A team from Japan ended a five-year run of Little League World Series baseball titles for the U.S. by beating Waipahu, Hawaii, 4-1 in the championship game.
Konan Tomori hit a home run and drove in three runs yesterday at Howard J. Lamade Stadium in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, as the Edogawa Minami All-Stars from Tokyo gave Japan its first title since 2003.
The last non-U.S. team to win the Little League World Series for 11- and 12-year-olds was Willemstad, Curacao, in 2004. Hawaii had won two of the previous five titles, including a victory by the Waipio Little League in Waipahu in 2008.
Japan led 2-1 yesterday when Tomori hit a two-run homer in the top of the sixth inning. Tomori had a run-scoring single with two outs in the fourth inning that put Japan up 2-0.
Hawaii got its lone run in the bottom of the fourth when Brysen Yoshii singled and scored on a throwing error.
Japan’s pitchers, Ryusuke Ikeda and Ichiro Ogasawara, combined to limit Hawaii to four hits and one run over six innings. Ogasawara didn’t allow a hit to the U.S. champion over the final three innings.
Japan beat Taiwan 3-2 to win the international title and reach the World Series championship game for the first time since 2007, when a team from Kitasuna Little League in Tokyo lost 3-2 to Warner Robins, Georgia.
Japan last won the Little League World Series in 2003, when the Musashi Fuchu All-Stars from Tokyo beat Boynton Beach, Florida, 10-1. Japan didn’t allow more than two runs in any of its games on its way to this year’s title.