SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Reece Roussel had a two-run single that broke the Little League World Series tournament record for hits with 15. At the time it seemed like a footnote.

His hit in the sixth inning Saturday gave Louisiana a 7-0 lead over Hawaii and turned out to be the most important of all his hits at the tournament. Roussel and his teammates from River Ridge survived a late comeback by Hawaii and won 9-5, earning a spot in the title game against Curacao.

Down 9-0 in the sixth, Hawaii mounted a five-run rally and had the bases loaded before falling short.

Roussel, who celebrated his record by sharing a smile and a high-five with his first-base coach, said the record-breaking hit became more special after Hawaii’s comeback attempt.

“I think it’s awesome,” Roussel said.

After four scoreless innings, Louisiana broke through with five runs in the fifth and four in the sixth, led by Roussel and Marshall Louque, who had three extra-base hits and four RBI.

The team from Maui, trying to defend the title won last year by a club from Honolulu, scored five times in the sixth against two relievers, even bringing the tying run to the plate with one out.

Then a line drive by Nakea Kahalehau landed in the glove of Louisiana shortstop Stan Wiltz, who beat a baserunner to second to complete a game-ending double play.

More than a week after Hawaii sent Louisiana to the elimination bracket in the first game each of the teams played in South Williamsport, Louisiana got its revenge with a fifth straight victory.

Ryder Planchard, who knocked in the first run of the game with a pinch-hit single, secured the final two outs on the mound, and a date in the championship game Sunday.

It’s the first time since the format was expanded to 16 teams that two clubs who played through the elimination bracket will face off in the final.

CURACAO 5, JAPAN 4: Curley Martha hit a two-run homer to center in the fifth inning and got the final 11 outs as a relief pitcher, helping Curacao reach the title game.

Japan loaded the bases in the sixth but Martha got out of the jam after a wild pitch scored two runs and put the tying run at third base. Ryohei Ushikubo hit a line drive toward the left-center field gap, but Keven Rosina made the catch.

“It was a little bit scary,” Curacao Manager Michelangelo Celestina said.

Martha and Shendrion Martinus combined to hold a Japan team that scored 32 runs in its first three games to four runs and five hits. Martinus also contributed with a two-run double in the third.

The team from Willemstad came back from a loss to South Korea last weekend, winning four straight games to reach the final.

The Pabao Little League won the championship in 2004.


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