Mid-Atlantic 13, Great Lakes 10
The Great Lakes Region champs from Kentucky temporarily silenced the huge crowd, which overwhelmingly roared for Mid-Atlantic Region champion New York thanks to the team's two-hour proximity to Williamsport. Carson Myers banged a deep fly ball off the New York left fielder's glove and over the wall for a first-inning three-run homer and early lead. New York struck back early and often, though, plating two runs of its own in the bottom of the first, then three runs in both the second and third innings for an 8-4 lead.
Three hits, including a two-run homer, from Abbadessa, highlighted the New York attack. The tide would turn again, however, when New York intentionally walked Devin Obee to load the bases in the top of the fourth. Two-hole hitter Spencer Newman made them pay, lacing a three-run triple to the wall in left-center to pull Kentucky within one, at 8-7, and he scored on an RBI groundout by Turner Nottmeier to tie things up. To the delight of the "Juuude"-chanting crowd, Abbadessa collected two more RBIs on a fourth-inning double to give New York another brief lead, only to see Kentucky claw for two to tie it up again in the top of the fifth.
Finishing the game with at least two runs in every inning, New York pushed across three in the fifth to take the lead for good. The hero of the LLWS so far, Abbadessa collected his fifth hit with another RBI single in that fifth inning. He then fittingly fielded a ground ball in the sixth to end the classic affair and send New York to the U.S. Championship game.
Abbadessa, whose 5-for-5 performance, which included a hit in every inning, and six RBIs lit up the crowd from beginning to end.
"Being in the Little League World Series has been one of the best things in my life, and just helping my team win is what I wanted to do most, but that's definitely about the best game I've ever had. I don't think I've ever been a part of a game that intense, ever." -- Abbadessa
Games No. 25 and 26 will take place Thursday, both elimination-style. On the International side, Mexico (3-1) will face South Korea (2-1) at 3 p.m. ET. It will be each team's first contest on the main field at Lamade Stadium, and the winner will move on to face Panama in the International Championship on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. On the U.S. side, Tennessee (3-1) takes on Kentucky (2-1) at 7:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to play New York in the U.S. Championship game Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Latin America 3, Asia-Pacific 2
South Korea pitcher Jaekyeong Kim had things in cruise control, allowing no runs through four innings of work. But after seeing his team scratch across two runs in the fourth for a 2-0 lead, he allowed a baserunner and reached 86 pitches in the fifth inning, so he was removed for Junho Jeong. The South Korea reliever was rudely greeted by a moonshot home run to center field by Esmith Pineda to put Panama ahead, 3-2. Despite suffering their first loss of this LLWS, and first loss by a South Korea team in any LLWS, the Asia-Pacific Region champs get to battle Mexico on Thursday at 3 p.m. ET, and the winner of that game will play Panama in the International Championship on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
The two teams combined for only four hits, and a large reason for that is that Panama pitcher Carlos Gonzalez tossed a gem. He allowed no hits and whiffed eight batters in four innings of work before yielding to the Latin America bullpen.
"It was an interesting game. We knew we had a chance to win at some point. We just wanted to keep the game as close as it was, 2-0, then in the fifth inning we had some good hitters and we got the hits that were needed to get the win." -- Panama manager Luis Gonzalez
Southeast 14, Midwest 3
Southeast Region champion Tennessee drew first blood with an Ethan Jackson solo home run in the second inning, but the Midwest Region champs from Iowa received a three-run blast from Kaiden Dinh in the third. That 3-1 Iowa lead was short-lived, however, as Tennessee batted around in both the fourth and fifth innings, plating 13 more runs combined in those frames. RJ Moore contributed a three-run dinger and Robert Carroll tossed 4 1/3 innings to help Tennessee advance in the mercy-rule-shortened five-inning contest.
Carroll not only got the job done on the mound, but he also went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a pair of RBIs.
"Robert I guess is what you'd call the quiet assassin because he doesn't say much, but he spoke loudly on the mound today. He's been money the whole time. Couldn't be more proud." -- Southeast manager Joey Hale
Mexico 10, Australia 0
Mexico won its third consecutive game Wednesday to earn the right to play another day. The squad mashed 11 hits in a 10-0 rout of Australia, and the game was halted after four innings due to the mercy rule. Two runs in the top of the first put Mexico ahead early, then six more in the third and two in the fourth put the game out of reach. The Australia team, which finished the LLWS with a 2-2 record, became the first team from Down Under to win two games in the LLWS.
Jose Angel Leal was a two-way threat for Mexico. He went 2-for-3 at the plate with a home run, and he also pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit while striking out 10 batters.
"I had very nice feelings being here. The first game, I was very nervous, but as time has passed, I have felt very good." -- Leal