El Segundo defeats Curacao, 6-5, and wins Little League World Series

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Penn. (CNS) — El Segundo won the Little League World Series in dramatic fashion Sunday, as Louis Lappe homered leading off the bottom of the sixth and final inning to defeat the Willemstad, Curacao-based Pabao Little League, 6-5, in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

The home run was Lappe’s fifth in El Segundo’s seven World Series games, the most in the tournament. It was the first home run Willemstad had allowed in its six World Series games.

El Segundo had taken a 5-1 lead, but Willemstad tied the score with its own dramatic homer, Nasir El-Ossais’ fifth-inning grand slam at Howard J. Lamade Stadium.

El Segundo Manager Danny Boehle replaced starting pitcher Ollie Parks after Parks walked Helmir Helmijr on a full-count pitch with one out in the fifth inning. Parks had thrown 74 pitches, 11 short of the maximum. (A pitcher can continue to pitch to the same batter after reaching the limit.)

First baseman Jaxon Kalish walked the first batter he faced, Juan Cleto Ferreras, then was relieved by center fielder Max Baker, who allowed a single by Jayvery Felicia to load the bases. Baker struck out Jay-Dlynn Wiel for the second out, but El-Ossais hit the next pitch for a grand slam.

NOTE: A GoFundMe account has been established to help reimburse the families of players for their travel expenses.

El Segundo opened the scoring in the first as Lucas Keldorf doubled in Brody Brooks and Lappe, who both singled.

Willemstad scored its first run in the third. Jay-Dlynn Wiel singled with two outs, advanced to second on El-Ossais’ single, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Shemar Sophia Jacobus’ single.

El Segundo increased its lead to 4-1 in the third as Kalish’s bases-loaded single drove in Colby Lee and Brooks, who both walked.

Baker tripled leading off the fourth for El Segundo and scored one out later on Crew O’Connor’s single.

Brooks, the fourth and final El Segundo pitcher, was credited with the victory, pitching a hitless sixth inning, walking one and striking out two.

Wiel, the second Willemstad pitcher, was charged with the loss, allowing two runs and four hits in 2 1/3 innings, striking out six and walking one.

Sean Serverie, the Willemstad starter, allowed four runs and three hits in 2 2/3 innings, struck out five and walked two.

El Segundo had to overcome multiple challenges en route to becoming the fourth Los Angeles County team to win the Little League World Series.

Several players were afflicted with a stomach virus when the World Series began Aug. 17. El Segundo had to win three consecutive games in three days to reach the U.S. championship game, after being relegated to the elimination bracket of the modified double-elimination tournament with a 3-1 loss to the all-star team from the Needville (Texas) Little League on Monday.

El Segundo avenged that loss with a 6-1 victory over Needville in the U.S. championship game Saturday.

El Segundo was 20-2 in five tournaments this summer. Its other loss was to the all-star team from the Sherman Oaks Little League, 4-3, in the opening game of the championship series of the Southern California State Tournament on July 31. It won the rematch, 3-2, later that day.

This is second consecutive year Willemstad lost in the championship game. Five players returned from the team that lost to the all-star team from the Honolulu, 13-3, in the 2022 final, in a game called in the fourth inning because of the run rule.

This was the fifth time a team from Curacao has advanced to the championship game, all from the Pabao Little League. Willemstad won in 2004, but also lost in 2005 and 2019 in addition to 2022 and 2023.

The other Los Angeles County teams to win the Little League World Series are the all-star teams from the Granada Hills National Little League in 1963 and the Long Beach Little League in 1992 and 1993.

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