SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) — Pitcher Curley Martha hit a two-run homer to center in the fifth inning to help Curacao beat Japan 5-4 and advance to the Little League World Series title game.
He and Shendrion Martinus combined to hold a Japan team that scored 32 runs in its first three games to four runs and five hits. Shendrion also hit a key two-run double in the third inning.
Curacao rallied from a loss to South Korea to win four straight games, reaching the championship on Sunday.
Curacao will face either Hawaii or Louisiana at Lamade Stadium and aim for its second Little League title. The Pabao Little League, with current Oakland Athletics infielder Jurickson Profar on its roster, won it in 2004.
Profar’s youngest brother, Jurdrick, caught all six innings of Saturday’s game and added a double and a pair of runs for Curacao.
Japan has won five Little League championships this decade.
Japan loaded the bases in the sixth inning, but Curley got out of the jam after a wild pitch scored two runs and put the tying run at third base. Ryohei Ushikubo flew out to left field to end the game.
The Japanese team came from Chofu, with a population around 230,000. It’s larger than the entire island of Curacao, which has 162,000 residents.
Tyler King is a journalism student at Penn State University.