California defeats Texas, will face Curacao for LLWS title

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Louis Lappe homered, drove in five runs and gave up just three hits on the mound as California defeated Texas 6-1 on Saturday to advance to the Little League World Series championship.

Brody Brooks also hit a home run, a solo shot to center field on the third pitch he saw from Texas ace DJ Jablonski, stomping on home plate on his way to the dugout.

Louis, a 12-year-old who stands 6-foot-1, drove in two runs on a third-inning double and started for the team from El Segundo, striking out 10 in 5 1/3 innings. He sealed the win with a two-out, three-run homer to right field in the fifth inning.

Louis holds the tournament lead for home runs with four, one ahead of Brody.

"This team," manager Danny Boehle said, "with (Louis and Brody) at one and two (in the lineup). They're really good athletes and are really hard to beat."

California will play Curacao in the final on Sunday, marking the state's first championship appearance since 2013 and El Segundo's first ever. Curacao defeated Taiwan 2-0 earlier Saturday in the international semifinal.

El Segundo is the 24th team to represent California in the championship since the Little League World Series began in 1947. California leads all U.S. states with seven titles.

In a tournament that has lacked offensive firepower, California knocked out five multi-base hits and eight overall.

DJ doubled in the fifth inning, advanced to third on a throwing error and scored on a passed ball to give the team from Needville, Texas, its lone run.

Texas, representing the Southwest, beat West region team California 3-1 on Monday. DJ got the win that day and entered the rematch with 15 strikeouts and just two earned runs for the tournament. But on Saturday he took the loss.

"It's great that we're the U.S. champs, but our mission is to win the World Series," Boehle said.

Earlier in the day, Jay-Dlynn Wiel and Nasir El-Ossais notched back-to-back singles off Taiwanese ace Fan Chen-Jun and later scored, leading Curacao to the shutout.

Taiwan came into the game having outscored its opponents 25-1 in its three previous outings at the tournament, but Curacao -- which lost 9-1 to Taiwan on Wednesday -- kept the Taiwanese bats quiet until the Caribbean team broke through.

"I'm very proud of these guys," Curacao manager Zaino Everett said. "When you put the ball in play, you are going to put some runs on the board. Here we are, international champs."

Fan came in for the bottom of the fourth to face Curacao's top of the lineup. Fan hadn't allowed a hit all tournament, but Jay-Dlynn hit a hard grounder into left field and Nasir followed with a single to right.

After a steal from Jay-Dlynn, Curacao had runners at first and third when Joshua Acosta Fernandez laid down a bunt. The bunt had Fan, third baseman Liu You-An and catcher Chen Kai-Sheng confused on who was covering home and who was taking the ball. Liu took the ball and overthrew Chen, allowing Jay-Dlynn to score.

Chen threw the ball back to Fan, but it was another overthrow and Nasir scored from first, making it a 2-0 game.

"Liu was supposed to field that one," Taiwan manager Lee Cheng-Ta said. "They were supposed to send it to first base or home base. They made a wrong choice. Even then, after the wrong choice, they made a bad throw. They're just kids."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.