By Lucas Friedman
After thousands of games, and hundreds of thousands of miles traveled, the 2018 Little League® International Tournament season has concluded and seven World Champions have been crowned.
Read on to find what baseball and softball teams wrote their own chapters into Little League’s World Series history.
Honolulu (Hawaii) Little League defeated South Seoul Little League, 3-0, to capture the 2018 Little League Baseball World Series Championship. The representatives of the West Region got on the board early thanks to a lead-off home run from Mana Lau Kong on the very first pitch. Ka’olu Holt shut down Asia-Pacific, tossing a complete-game shutout, allowing only two hits while striking out eight.
As a team, Hawaii compiled a 0.35 ERA, allowing only three total runs five games played. In the field, the LLB® World Series champs only had two errors in the tournament, which gave them a 0.984 fielding percentage. Their victory marks the third time a team from Hawaii has taken the Little League Baseball® World Series crown, and the first since 2008. This year’s team was the first ever from island of Honolulu to make it to the World Series.
West Seoul Little League, champions of the Asia-Pacific Region, defeated the Host Region team, Livermore/Granada Little League, by a score of 10-0 to win the 2018 Intermediate 50/70 Baseball Championship. The team from South Korea opened the scoring early with a walk to Woo Hyun La in the first inning, and turn it into a 6-0 by the end of the second inning. The lead was backed by a gem from Seong Hyung Lee who allowed just only one hit through 5 2/3 innings of work. Lee also struck out 10 and walked none en route to earning the mound victory.
The Asia-Pacific Region Champions was dominant throughout the tournament, going 5-0 and outscoring opponents, 69-5. The eventual world champions defeated Australia, Canada, Latin America, and Puerto Rico, all by deficits of 10 runs or more. This marks the second time that West Seoul Little League has taken home the Intermediate 50/70 crown since the tournament started in 2013.
Shing-Ming Junior Little League, from Taoyuan, Taiwan, defeated Lufkin (Texas) Little League, 2-0, to capture the 2018 Junior League World Series title. The Asia-Pacific Region’s Kuan Lun Huang tossed 6 2/3 of two-hit shutout ball for the win. He struck out six and walked one. Shui-Hsun Li got the final out of the game and earned the save. Huang had a solid game on offense, going 3-for-3, including a home run in the fifth inning.
Shing-Ming outscoring opponents, 30-3. This year’s championship marked the region’s third straight tournament win, and fourth title in the past six years.
Eastly, South Carolina
Pariba Little League, winners of the Caribbean Region, are the 2018 Senior League Baseball champions. The team from Willemstad, Curacao earned the crown after defeating the East Region’s Naamans Little League from Wilmington, Del., 7-2. After trailing 2-0 at the end of the first inning, Curacao came storming back in second, plating four runs to take control of the game. Yevganni Reinita had the game-winning RBI. Starting pitcher Elchero Fransisca shook off a tough first inning, pitching six strong innings, allowing two runs on five hits with four strikeouts to earn the victory.
The Caribbean Region showed a ton of toughness and grit throughout the tournament, with hard-fought victories over Latin America and the impressive Europe-Africa Region team from Bologna, Italy twice. Pariba Little League is the second team from Willemstad, Curacao to earn a Senior League World Series title. Pabao, a program that boasts current Major Leaguers Jonathan Schoop and Jurickson Profar, won the title in 2002.
Wheelersburg (Ohio) Little League defeated Tunkhannock (Pa.) Little League, 3-0, to secure the 2018 Little League Softball World Series Championship. AndiJo Howard lead her team to victory, pitching six shutout innings, allowing only three hits with seven strikeouts and zero walks.
The representatives of the Central Region went 4-2 throughout the tournament. Opening the tournament with wins against Latin America and Asia-Pacific by a combined score of 12-2, the eventual World Series Champions lost back-to-back games against Oregon District 4 and Southwest. Wheelersburg was resilient, winning its next three games by a combined score of 18-2.
Wheelersburg gave the state of Ohio its first-ever Little League Softball World Series Championship. They are only the fourth team to win a World Series out of the Central Region, and the first since 2011.
Snow Canyon Little League from Santa Clara, Utah, defeated the Southwest Region’s Smithville (Texas) Little League from Smithville, 9-3 to capture the 2018 Junior League Softball World Series Championship. Representing the West Region, Snow Canyon went an impressive 7-0 en route to winning the title. They dominated both national and international competition, besting Latin America, East, Europe-Africa, the Host team, and Southwest.
Jael Wilde and Tyler Mooring lead the offensive charge for the West, compiling three hits each. Wilde opened the scoring the first inning with a two-run single, and finished with three RBIs on the day. Jenna Thorkelson turned in a strong performance on the mound to earn the victory. She went five innings, allowing two runs on four hits with six strike outs. Snow Canyon marks the first time the West Region has won the Junior League Softball World Series since the tournament began in 1999.
Lower Sussex, Del.
Tanauan Little League from the Asia-Pacific Region were crowned the 2018 Senior League Softball champions, defeating Texas District 9 Little League of Waco, Texas, from the Southwest Region. Tanauan, which hails from Batangas, Philippines, blanked the Southwest, 7-0, behind a complete-game shutout by Royevel Palma. In the championship game, she struck out 15 batters and only allowed two hits in addition to earning the victory. Palma also contributed an RBI single during the Philippines’ four-run third inning.
Pitching was certainly a strong point from the Asia-Pacific squad. Despite losing one game to the Host Region during the round robin stage, Asia-Pacific finished 6-1. They played their best down the stretch, outscoring their opponents 18-1 during the elimination rounds.