Tokyo takes Little League World Series

Posted: Monday, August 27, 2001

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) -- Tokyo Kitasuna rallied for two runs its last at-bat for the second straight game and beat Apopka, Fla., 2-1 Sunday night to win the Little League World Series.

Nobuhisa Baba hit a line drive off the shortstop's glove in the bottom of the sixth and final inning, driving in two runs and giving Japan its fifth Little League World Series title.

On Saturday night, Tokyo won the international championship in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run homer by Atsushi Mochizuki that gave it a 2-1 victory over Curacao, Netherlands Antilles.

Tokyo (5-1) had just three hits against Florida and both runs were unearned.

Masayuki Itoh and Yuusuke Nomura both reached base on errors by third baseman Zach Zwieg in the sixth inning. Both advanced on a fielder's choice, then came home on Baba's line drive to left. The throw from the left fielder was cut off near the mound and there was no play at the plate on the winning run.

Japan's last title came in 1999, when Hirakata, Osaka, beat Phenix City, Ala., 5-0.

Apopka (4-2) was the seventh Florida team to reach the title game, but no team from that state has ever won.

Apopka upset the Rolando Paulino team from the Bronx, N.Y., 8-2 Saturday to win the U.S. championship game. The Bronx had won the earlier meeting over Apopka when left-hander Danny Almonte threw just the third perfect game in Little League World Series history.

Mochizuki (2-0) was the winning pitcher, while Justin LaFavers (2-1), who had all eight of his strikeouts in the first three innings, took the loss.

Andrew Cobb scored the game's first run in the second inning on Jeff Lovejoy's RBI single, a looper that dropped behind third base. Cobb reached base on a fielder's choice, then advanced to second on a wild pitch.

Apopka twice had opportunities to pad its lead late in the game, but couldn't convert. In the fourth inning Mochizuki walked the bases loaded, but the inning ended on a fly ball to right by Stuart Tapley.

With runners on first and third in the fifth, Brandon Brewer left third on a short chopper and was tagged out at home on a fielder's choice. The other runners advanced to second and third, but the inning ended when Cobb grounded out to the pitcher.

Lovejoy led off the sixth with a double down the left-field line, but was tagged out on a fielder's choice between second and third.

Before the game, President Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch and wished both teams luck.

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