Curacao shuts out Taiwan 1-0 to move to LLWS championship

Sports

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) — Reangelo Decaster threw 4 2/3 innings of shutout ball and Jaydion Louisa knocked in a run with a pinch-hit dribbler Saturday to lead Curacao to a 1-0 win over Taiwan to move on to the Little League World Series championship.

Curacao will play Sunday against either Hawaii or Tennessee, who were to play later in the day.

Decaster got some defensive help as he worked out of a first inning jam, thanks to a flyout and a groundout with Liao Yuan-Shu on third. In the fourth, left fielder Jaythan Cordilia ran down and snagged a fly ball that was tailing away to the corner. Afterward, he got a hug from center fielder Davey-Jay Rijke for his effort.

In the fifth, Taiwan loaded the bases on singles by Wu Hsuan-Hung, Hsu Ta-Sheng and Liao Yuan-Shu, which ended Decaster’s day as he surpassed the 85-pitch limit for Little League. Qshondrickson Doran came in with two outs to face Tseng Yi-Che and got him to fly out to left.

Rijke then made a warning-track catch on a deep fly ball off the bat of Wang Yuan-Fu to preserve the Curacao lead in the sixth and was mobbed by his fellow outfielders.

Curacao scored in the bottom of the third. Alexander Provacia led off the inning with a bunt single and advanced to second on a throwing error. Alexander moved to third on a passed ball and scored on Cordilia’s single, a grounder that found a sweet spot between first and second base, to give Curacao a 1-0 lead.

A Caribbean island with just over 150,000 people, Curacao has one tournament title, coming in 2004. But Curacao also was the last international team to play in the LLWS championship, in 2019, when it fell to Louisiana. The 2020 tournament was canceled because of the coronavirus and last year only U.S. teams played because of travel restrictions caused by the pandemic.

Taiwan is historically one of the best international teams in the LLWS, winning 17 titles. But its last championship came in 1996.

Li Fang-Mo was excellent on the mound for Taiwan despite the loss, tossing five innings of one-run, three-hit ball and striking out nine Curacao batters.

___

Jake Starr is a Penn State journalism student.