Hawaii, South Korea to compete for championship

Right, South Korea catcher Gi Jeong Kim, left, and first baseman Yeong Hyeon Kim celebrate Asia-Pacific's 2-1 win over Japan for the Little League International Championship Saturday. Left, Hawaii catcher Bruce Boucher, left; pitcher, Aukai Kea, middle; and first baseman Mana Lau Kong celebrate their win over Georgia for the Little League U.S. Championship at Lamade Stadium Saturday. MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette

The international and national champions have been chosen and by this afternoon, Lamade Stadium will host a showdown between only the two unbeaten teams in the 2018 Little League World Series.

The West Regional Champions, of Honolulu, Hawaii, and the Asia-Pacific Regional Champions, of Seoul, South Korea, both took the final wins in their brackets on Saturday. Hawaii came out on top against the Southeast regional champions of Peachtree City, Georgia, at 3-0, scoring two final runs at the bottom of the fifth inning.

South Korea beat the Japan regional champions by one run, closing the game at 2-1 after a home run by pitcher Ji Hyung Choi.

Today’s game at 3 p.m. in Lamade Stadium will solve a tie-breaker between the two teams, who both have perfect 4-0 records going into today’s championship.

To begin the final day of the Series, Japan and Georgia will hold a 10 a.m. consolation game at Lamade Stadium. Crowds can be expected to only increase throughout the day as more and more people find seats on the hill and the stadium fills to the brim.

At the same time as the consolation game, the Northwest and Latin America regional champions will be holding their own crossover game at Little League’s Original Field at 1743 W. Fourth St. in the city.

The Uptown Music Collective will begin a performance behind Volunteer Stadium at 1:30 p.m. after the consolation game as baseball fans find a space on the sure-to-be-busy hill overlooking the game.

“Championship Sunday is shaping up to be an exciting way to round out the 2018 Little League Baseball World Series,” said Kevin Fountain, Little League’s director of media relations.

Before the championship begins, Little League International will enshrine 1988 Maine-Endwell Little League graduate, Thomas Tull into the Little League Hall of Excellence. Tull is a film producer and has worked on movies such as “Inception,” “The Hangover” and “Pacific Rim” and owns shares in the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Little League International also will present the Jack Losch Sportsmanship Award to the team that has shown the best sportsmanship during the Series.

“Along with two exciting games, there are a variety of activities planned throughout the day for fans of all ages to enjoy,” Fountain added.

As 3 p.m. rolls around today, the excitement will no doubt be palpable as the team families cheer for their kids and roars from thousands of baseball fans stretch across the hill at Lamade Stadium. But true to Little League fashion, after the game is over and one team comes on top, both teams will share in handshakes and will most likely run a lap around the historic field together.

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