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Sports

Japan beats Hawaii to win crown

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 03:12 PM
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -

The Little League aces from Japan ended the United States' five-year reign as World Series champions.

The team from Tokyo limited Waipahu, Hawaii, to four singles, and got a homer and three RBIs from Konan Tomori to take the Little League World Series title with a 4-1 victory Sunday.

For the first time since 2003, a team from Japan is flying home with the championship banner.

Hawaii, which had scored 29 runs in its previous three games, came up short at the plate against Tokyo.

Hawaii's only run came on an error off a sacrifice bunt in the fourth, but reliever Ichiro Ogasawara worked out of a second-and-third jam with a strikeout and a weak bouncer.

Cheered on by Hawaii fans waving U.S. flags and tea leaves they've been carrying around for good luck, the Waipahu All-Stars put on a valiant effort on the mound and with the glove. Thirteen-year-old lefty starter Cody Maltezo, who hadn't pitched in roughly a month, held Japan to four hits in 52/3 innings, and Noah Shackles' fine stop of a hard bouncer at third likely saved two runs from scoring in the third.

But the mashers from the West region couldn't get the clutch hits that had propelled their unlikely run of four victories in four elimination games in four days into the Little League final.

So the All-Star team from Tokyo's Edogawa Minami Little League became the first international team to take the crown since Curacao in 2004.

Chen-Wei Chen had three hits and Wei-Chih Chen fired a four-hitter to lead Kaoshiung, Taiwan, to a 14-2 victory over Pearland Texas, in the consolation game ended after four innings because of the 10-run rule.

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