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Jackie Robinson West comeback comes up short in Championship game

The Jackie Robinson West All-Stars are national champions, even though their comeback effort in Sunday's World Championship game fell short.
Chicago's Jackie Robinson West All-Stars incredible Little League World Series run ended with a gritty Championship game loss to South Korea in Williamsport, Pa. on Sunday afternoon.

The team comprised of 11- and 12-year-olds from Chicago's South and Southwest Sides captured the city's and nation's hearts on the way to capturing the U.S. Championship.

PHOTOS: Jackie Robinson West in Little League World Series

VIDEO: Chicago cheers for Jackie Robinson West All-Stars

Jae Yeong Hwang drove in two runs and Hae Chan Choi weathered a late Chicago rally to lead South Korea to an 8-4 win in Sunday's Little League World Series championship game.

Hwang gave up one hit in two-plus innings while striking out four. He also drove in the Asia-Pacific Region champs' first two runs as they built an 8-1 lead before Jackie Robinson West made it close.

International teams have won the last three and four of the last five titles.

Brandon Green went 5 2-3 innings for Chicago, which had survived four straight knockout games before the final.

The game was played in bright sunshine and temperatures in the high 70s before a crowd of 28,671 at Lamade Stadium.

VIDEO: Loop watch party cheers on Chicago

South Korean fans, brightly dressed in flowing satin robes of yellow and electric blue, danced with large fans in the latter innings.

Chicago, the Great Lakes Region champions, came back from 3-0 and 5-4 deficits to beat favored West champ Las Vegas Mountain Ridge 7-5 in the U.S. title game on Saturday. Earlier, South Korea, the Asia-Pacific Region winner, rolled over Japan, 12-3.

But they couldn't come back against the powerful South Koreans, who asserted themselves early.

Jackie Robinson West lived up to its never-say-die credo - continually winning when a loss would have ended its journey through the tournament - by opening the sixth on singles by Jones and Hondras.

After a terrific diving catch by Dong Wan Sin on Jackson's hard shot, Darion Radcliff came through with a two-run single and Joshua Houston - the pitching and hitting hero of the U.S. final win a day earlier - also had a single to bring the Chicago fans to their feet.

A passed ball scored Radcliff to make it 8-4, with Houston moving to second, but Choi got Green on a foul-tip third strike and Ed Howard on the force out.

Illinois teams have made 15 trips to South Williamsport, with the Jackie Robinson West league appearing once before, winning two of three games in 1983.

Mayor Emanuel announces celebrations honoring Jackie Robinson West's success

In celebration of Jackie Robinson West's success in the Little League World Series, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced that a fireworks display will take place on Navy Pier Sunday night at 8:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, the mayor will hold a parade and rally in the team's honor. The fireworks at Navy Pier on Wednesday will also be dedicated to Jackie Robinson West.

"I want to congratulate the Jackie Robinson West All Stars and Coach Darold Butler on a history-making season," said Mayor Emanuel. "As the first team in the history of the City of Chicago to reach the championship game, they are the pride of Chicago and will forever have a place in the record books. This team has electrified our city and rallied people from every neighborhood to support these great kids."

The parade on Wednesday will begin on the South Side and end at Millennium Park.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.




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