Williamsport, PA — Hawaii is back on top as they win their first title in a decade and the first title for the U.S. since New York back in 2016. Not just representing the U.S. against South Korea, but representing the island of Honolulu. Despite being thousands of miles away from their home, almost the entire crowd surrounding the entire field were rooting for the Hawaiians. Only 6 pairs of parents were able to fly from South Korea to support their team but many Korean-Americans showed up from all over the country to root for them.
South Korea had not given up a single run in the entire tournament but unfortunately, with one pitch, Mana Lau Kong drove a hit to the almost dead center field over the fence leading to a 3-0 lead. Kong’s mother was given the home run ball to keep after someone brought it to their side. Kong’s mother was visibly seen crying with tears of pride and joy for her son’s big moment. Hawaiian pitcher Ka’olu Holt was their pitcher that day and only gave up 2 hits in the game and pitched the first shutout in a title game since 2002. It was also Holt’s first ever shutout game he’s ever pitched. Rightfully so, he picked an important game to do so.
Despite South Korea’s great play throughout the tournament, even knocking out powerhouse Japan in the international side of the tournament, they couldn’t match Hawaii and had an off day at the plate, simply something you can’t do against a team like Hawaii.
South Korea should be proud to have made it so far where many have not. It’s an accomplishment in itself by making it to the title game in such dominant fashion as they did. Staying humble, the Hawaiians quickly after celebrating on the field, shook hands across home plate, went over to the South Korea parents and fans and waved their caps to them. With many South Koreans still visibly upset and crying, the Hawaiians gave one last consolable hug to each member keeping in mind their coaches’ lesson to “stay humble no matter what”. Congratulations to Hawaii on an incredible and well deserved LLWS title run. Congratulations to South Korea and also congratulations to Japan for a third-place victory over Georgia.