Hawaii Wins its First
Little League Baseball World Series Title
By Nick Williams
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Aug. 28, 2005) – With a whole
island—make that a nation—of support behind him and his
teammates, Michael Memea completed a story-book comeback
for Hawaii when he sent a 3-2 pitch into the hazy,
early-evening atmosphere for a walk-off solo home run in
the seventh inning to defeat defending champion Curacao,
7-6, and give Hawaii the 2005 Little League Baseball
World Series Championship.
(Note: Scores, box
scores, audio of post-game news conferences and photos
from all the games of the 59th Little League Baseball
World Series can be found
The United States Champion West Oahu Little Leaguers
from Ewa Beach staged an improbable three-run rally to
tie the game at 6-6 in the bottom of the sixth inning
and force only the third extra-inning championship game
in the history of the Little League World Series.
What followed will be talked about for generations, as
Memea swatted a Christopher Garia fastball to
straightway center field for the only walk-off home run
in the 2005 Little League Baseball World Series and the
second game-ending homer in the history of the
The first Little League World Series title game to end
with a home run came in 1955 when Rich Cominsky hit a
solo homer for Morrisville, Pa. in a 4-3 victory over a
team from Merchantville, N.J.
“I was excited,” Memea said. “I knew it was gone when it
left the bat.”
Memea’s homer captured Hawaii’s first Little League
World Series championship and prevented the Pabao Little
Leaguers from Willemstad, Curacao from becoming only the
fourth team to win back-to-back titles.
In a game filled with the theatrics of Broadway, Hawaii
set the stage for Memea’s homer with a last-gasp
comeback in the sixth behind a fired-up crowd on three
singles, two walks and a couple of fielder’s choices.
“I guess the fire lit up again,” said Hawaii manager
Layton Aliviado. “We came back.”
Vonn Fe’ao started the rally by drawing a leadoff walk
and advancing to third on a single by Quentin Guevara,
who went to second on the throw. Ty Tirpak followed by
dropping a bunt down the third base line. Curacao third
baseman Rudmichaell Brandao fielded the ball and flipped
it to home, but a streaking Fe’ao slid under the tag,
cutting the Curacao lead to 6-4 and re-energizing the
Howard J. Lamade Stadium crowd of 25,506, who, as usual,
paid no admission.
An RBI single by Zachary Rosete scored Guevara and
turned what was once looking like a disappointing
sendoff for Hawaii into a one-run ballgame, sending the
crowd into a frenzy. Then, Hawaii leadoff hitter and
sparkplug Layson Alivado drew his second walk of the
game to load the bases.
Kini Enos then hit a sharp grounder to short that
Jurickson Profar fielded and fired home for a force
play, and the inning’s first out.
Alaka’i Aglipay followed by hitting a hard groundball to
second base. A double play would have been a fitting
ending to a World Series punctuated by more than 25 of
“I was hoping to hit the ball in play and bring in that
run,” Aglipay said.
Aglipay chugged down the first base line as Curacao got
the first out at second.
Profar stepped off the second base bag and chucked the
ball to first.
Safe. Tie score. Brand-new ballgame.
“I told them before, if you guys want it, lets go get
it,” Aliviado said. “We work hard for this, we aren’t
giving it away.”
When Sheyne Baniaga flied out to deep center to end the
inning, Hawaii was pumped up. Fe’ao (2.2 innings of
one-run relief for the win) pitched a 1-2-3 seventh,
striking out Sorick Liberia and Naeem Lourens to end the
“Every time [Fe’ao] got a strike, the speed [of his
pitches] was increasing,” said Curacao manager Vernon
Isabella through interpreter Alecto Nicolaas. “The ball
was coming faster and faster.”
Fe’ao and Hawaii were feeding off the comeback and the
crowd noise, Curacao and Garia were tiring.
“I knew that Garia was tired, but I asked him to go the
extra mile,” Isabella said.
Before Garia surrendered the home run to Memea and the
three runs in the sixth, he was in place to be the hero
for Curacao. He had pitched three innings of scoreless
relief after he came in for Lourens, who entered the
game for Liberia in a perilous situation with the bases
loaded and nobody out in the first.
With only three walks in his eight innings of work in
Series play, Liberia immediately issued full-count walks
to the first three batters he faced to load the bases.
Rather than watch Liberia try and work out of the jam,
Isabella opted instead to replace Liberia in favor of
Lourens, who had previously worked only briefly in
Curacao’s 9-0 loss to Japan in pool play, striking out
the only batter he faced.
In true dramatic fashion, Lourens struck out Baniaga,
induced Memea into popping out near the third base bag
and struck out Fe’ao to extinguish the threat.
Down 1-0, Curacao put three runs on the board against
Hawaii starter Guevara in a wild third inning that
featured two errors, a walk and a base-running blunder
that turned into a scoring play.
With one out, No. 9 hitter Denjerick Virginie dropped a
bunt down the third base line. Guevara fielded the ball,
but threw wildly past first, allowing Virginie to reach
safely. Brandao came in to run for Virginie and advanced
to second on a wild pitch by Guevara.
Guevara then struck out Garia for the second out before
walking Rayshelon Carolina.
Jurickson Profar then sliced a base hit to right field.
Rosete charged the ball, but overran it, and the ball
skipped all the way to wall, allowing Virginie to score
easily. Carolina looked like he was trying to score on
the play as well, but stopped halfway up the line
towards home when he saw the relay throw.
Carolina raced back to third, only to find Profar
arriving at the bag at the same time. Profar scampered
back toward second, and while he was caught in a pickle,
Carolina took off towards home, evading the tag and
plating the second run of the inning for a 2-1 Curacao
An RBI single by Liberia knocked in Profar for the third
Curacao run and a 3-1 lead.
But Hawaii wasted no time coming back, slugging its way
to a tie game in the bottom half of the frame on
back-to-back solo shots from Enos and Aglipay.
The back and forth battle ensued when with one down in
the fifth, Profar reached on an infield hit against Enos.
Liberia followed with a blast that just stayed inside
the leftfield foul pole, landing in the bullpen for a
two-run home run, giving Curacao a 5-3 lead and chasing
Enos from the game.
With the flame-throwing Fe’ao now pitching, Lourens
grounded out to short for the second out.
Darren Seferina, already with a single in the game,
stroked a Fe’ao fastball to right-centerfield for a solo
home run and a 6-3 Curacao advantage.
Fe’ao used the home run to his advantage, letting it
fuel his adrenaline the rest of the way.
“I was angry the whole time after that home run,” Fe’ao
Fe’ao was able to channel that anger, though, and retire
seven of the last eight batters he faced.
“After that [home run], he was on fire,” said coach
Aliviado. “Vonn came in and shut them down.”
“I’m really happy, our dream came true,” he added. “I’m
so proud of these boys.”