Little League

Aug. 23: Curacao, Japan, Texas, Georgia advance

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - Down to his last strike with his team on the brink of elimination, Deion Rosalia stayed calm and settled himself at the plate.

The next pitch, a fastball, looked inviting, and the 13-year-old swung.

When the ball sailed over the right-field fence, Rosalia had a three-run homer and Willemstad, Curacao, had a stunning 4-2 extra-inning win Thursday over Maracaibo, Venezuela, at the Little League World Series.

Curacao advances to Saturday's international championship game. Venezuela is eliminated.

Also Thursday, Lubbock, Texas, beat Lake Oswego, Ore., 8-2 to advance to the U.S. championship game.

Rosalia wasn't looking to go deep on the 1-2 pitch.

"No, I just went for contact," he said, flashing a brief smile.

Tied 1-1 after the regulation six innings, Venezuela's Bryan Charry led off the top of the seventh with a homer to give Venezuela a 2-1 lead. Teammates lined the third-base line as Charry rounded third, greeting him with low-fives before he pounced on home plate.

Rosalia wasn't happy about that celebration.

"It made me want to beat them up," he said.

Manager Vernon Isabella took a different approach.

"I had a feeling in the bottom of the seventh inning that something would happen to win the game," he said through translator Percy Lebacks.

It sure did, though there were tense moments.

Ademar Rifaela singled sharply to center on a 3-2 count with two outs off reliever Reinaldo Amaro. Vincent Anthonia walked on four pitches, setting up Rosalia's at-bat.

Anthonia skipped in delight, frantically jumping as he rounded third. Rosalia soon followed and was greeted by jubilant teammates at the plate. He said it was his first game-winning homer.

Pitching on his 12th birthday, Entwin Reigina got the win despite allowing Charry's homer after striking out five in two-plus innings of relief.

"That is an extra gift for my birthday," he said.

Venezuela was eliminated.

Lubbock, Texas 8, Lake Oswego, Ore. 2: Bryndan Arredondo hit a three-run homer in the third as undefeated Lubbock (3-0) rallied from an early deficit to defeat Lake Oswego (2-2).

"Oh yeah, I knew it was out," Arredondo said about his blast.

Calvin Hermanson's two-run single in the second gave Oregon a 2-0 lead before Texas scored four runs in the third.

Reliever Garrett Williams allowed Hermanson's single, but was otherwise dominant.

After recording all 17 outs in his first appearance by strikeout, Williams struck out the first six batters he faced against Lake Oswego. When Reid Penney flew out in the fourth, it was the first time in the World Series that Williams recorded an out other than by strikeout.

Williams finished with 11 Ks against Oregon, which was eliminated.

"I expect to dominate, but sometimes I'm on and sometimes I'm not," Williams said. "I've just happened to be on this week."

Tokyo, Japan 4, Taichung, Taiwan 3: Junsho Kiuchi raised his arms in triumph after rounding first after his 10th-inning homer sailed over the left-field fence to give undefeated Japan (3-0) a dramatic victory.

Kiuchi got the win, too, after striking out nine in five-plus innings of relief.

But after the game, his at-bats were the first topic of conversation.

"I could have hit it two other times, so the third time I wanted to get a hit to decide the game," he said through an interpreter.

Players for Taiwan (2-2) leaned down near the third-base line, heads hung down after the game, stunned after leading 2-0 early on. The game was an inning short of the longest Little League World Series contest ever played.

Japan tied the game at 3 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth after Kazutaka Kato lined a hard shot to center that fell just in front of center fielder Chung-Yen Chen. The relay went to second, allowing Yuya Fukushima to score.

Kiuchi said he caught Rosalia's game-winner on TV. Asked which one was better, he smiled and answered shyly, "Of course, mine."

Warner Robins, Ga. 16, Chandler, Ariz. 6: Payton Purvis hit two, two-run blasts, including one in a seven-run fifth inning that ended the game early because of Little League's 10-run rule.

With some of the members of last year's title-winning team from Columbus, Ga., watching from the stands, Warner Robins (3-1) pounded out 14 hits against Chandler (2-2).

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