WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Starting with a pair of contests on Thursday, all remaining Little League World Series games elevated to single-elimination. The Asia-Pacific Region champs from Seoul, South Korea, kick-started the day with a dominant victory over Mexico, a team that had won three games in a row. The victory catapulted South Korea into the International Championship game, where it will get a second crack at undefeated Panama.
Asia-Pacific 7, Mexico 0
South Korea lost its country's first LLWS game ever on Wednesday, but came back to prove it's not ready to go home. Center fielder Seum Kwon launched a solo homer to center in the first inning and a two-run shot to left in the second. In between those blasts, Jaekyeong Kim, who choked up on the bat around six inches, lofted a three-run homer off the "S" in the World Series signage at the base of the hill in deep right-center.
Starting pitcher Sangheon Park and hard-throwing lefty reliever Wontae Cho mowed through the powerful Mexico lineup, which had scored 29 runs in its last three games. The South Korea hurlers combined to allow one hit and struck out 13, including the final four batters of the game.
If a player belts two home runs in a six-inning Little League contest, he's a good bet for player of the game. Kwon finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs, and his pair of home runs in the first two innings helped stake South Korea to an early 6-0 lead.
"In the first inning, when Kwon hit a home run, we had the feeling that we can do it today." -- South Korea manager Heesu Ji
Tennessee (3-1) takes on Kentucky (2-1) tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET, with the winner advancing to play undefeated New York in the U.S. Championship game on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. That matchup will be preceded Saturday by the International Championship at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Mike McCormick is an editorial director for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.