Yesterday in baseball, there was some big news. You may have heard about it. Oh, you did? Are you thinking of Toronto Blue Jays third baseman and reigning A.L. MVP Josh Donaldson, who hit three home runs in one game to lead his club to a 9–6 victory over the Minnesota Twins? That key victory kept the Blue Jays two games ahead of the Boston Red Sox in the thrilling pennant race in the American League East, so that must be what we're talking about.
Only it's not. We're talking about some even bigger news. Or at least, littler bigger news.
No, the biggest news in baseball yesterday had nothing to do with the pros. It happened in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where a group of 11 to 13 year-olds from tiny Endwell, New York won America's first Little League World Series (LLWS) title since 2011. They did so by beating the team from South Korea in a tight 2–1 game. Before yesterday's victory, the LLWS had been dominated by teams from Japan and South Korea recently. So this win was a big boost for the pride of the United States, the home of modern baseball.
A perfect season
The victory was the final capper to a rare perfect season for the Endwell team. They finished the year 24–0 by the winning the most important game of all. (In the LLWS tournament, they were 5–0.) In Sunday's championship game, they were led by pitcher, Ryan Harlost. Not only did Harlost pitch a complete six-inning game (Little League games only go six innings instead of the nine innings of pro games), he also struck out eight South Korean batters and scored the winning run in the fourth inning. The only run that he allowed was a solo homer in the fifth inning to Yoomin Lee. So eat your heart out, Josh Donaldson — Ryan Harlost was the star of the day!
The peak of international youth baseball
The LLWS is the biggest competition for players aged 11 to 13 in the world. It pits two eight team divisions against each other — the United States bracket and the International bracket. Each of the sixteen teams in these brackets must win regional tournaments to get the chance to play in the LLWS. The Endwell team were the winner of the Mid-Atlantic U.S. bracket. They are the first LL team from New York state to win the tournament since 1964. The South Korea team represented the Asia-Pacific region. The other seven international regions were Canada, Australia, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa, Japan, Latin America, and Mexico.
Altogether, this means that Endwell's season truly did end well, and against many odds. From a town of only 11,000 people, they beat the best in their region, the best in the United States, and finally the best in the world. And all without losing once.
"I don't think I can describe it, maybe the boys can," said their manager (or head coach) Scott Rush of the victory. "Just an unbelievable feeling." Want to feel it for yourself? Watch the final out of the game below!
— Little League (@LittleLeague) August 28, 2016