A Little League World Series championship just wasn’t in the cards for Team Pennsylvania.
The U.S. representatives gained a 10-2 advantage in the first inning, but Team Japan battled back with a seven-run second inning, four-run third and five-run sixth en route to a 22-hit, 18-11 comeback win for the Japanese Kitasuna Little League.
With Japan’s victory, American teams fell to 15-35 vs. international opponents in the title game.
“I told the players it doesn’t end until it ends,” Junji Hidaka, Kitasuna’s manager, told ESPN through a translator.
Nobuyuki Kawashima pitched the final five innings for Japan, limiting the Lewisberry team to just one run on two hits.
“Today my fastball wasn’t going fast enough,” 12-year-old Kawashima said. “I knew my breaking ball had to be on the corner, down low, where the batters can’t reach too far or it just gets them off-balance.”
The championship was Japan’s 10th, second-most all-time behind Taiwan, which has 17.
Thumbnail photo via Evan Habeeb/USA TODAY Sports Images