SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, PA. – Joshua Houston survived a rocky start to pitch five innings and also brought in the tying run with a line single in the fifth to lead Chicago past Las Vegas 7-5 on Saturday in the U.S. final at the Little League World Series.
The Great Lakes Region champions from Jackie Robinson West advanced to meet South Korea in Sunday’s championship game.
While the team celebrated on the field and posed for pictures, “Saturday in the Park” by Chicago fittingly played over the public address system.
Trailing 3-0 after the first and 5-4 heading into the home half of the fifth, Chicago scored three times to win it. Houston’s single tied it after two walks, with runs also scoring on a fielder’s choice and an error.
Ed Howard then came on to close it out for Jackie Robinson West, a member of the Urban Initiative which supports Little League programs in needy urban areas.
Las Vegas, the West Region champs, had topped Chicago 13-2 on Aug. 17 and had outscored the opposition 33-5 in its three victories in South Williamsburg.
The game was played under gray skies with an occasional mist of rain. The weather didn’t dampen the mood of the crowd. Hundreds of kids spent the game sliding down the steep hill in center field on large sheets of cardboard.
The Illinois team eliminated the Taney Dragons from Philadelphia, featuring Sports Illustrated cover girl Mo’ne Davis, by a 6-5 score on Thursday night in its most recent game.
After a bloop single by Alex Barker in the sixth, Dallan Cave reached on an error. But Josiah Cromwick also bounced back to Howard, who started a 1-6-3 double play to end the game.