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Tennessee team makes U.S. final

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Japan's Kotaro Kiyomiya (left) is greeted by teammates after hitting a two-run homer off Panama's Julio Goff in the first inning. Japan reached the international final.  GENE J. PUSKAR/ASSOCIATED PRESS
GENE J. PUSKAR/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Japan's Kotaro Kiyomiya (left) is greeted by teammates after hitting a two-run homer off Panama's Julio Goff in the first inning. Japan reached the international final.

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Tennessee scratched out two late runs to get to the U.S. final in the Little League World Series.

Cole Carter had an RBI single after Luke Rucker scored the tying run from second on a throwing error to give the boys from Goodlettsville, Tenn., a 4-3 victory over San Antonio on Wednesday night.

Next stop for unbeaten Tennessee: The U.S championship game Saturday.

Texas had scored twice in the fifth before Tennessee rallied with its late-game heroics.

Reliever Luke Brown closed it out with a double play, and giddy Tennessee players celebrated in front of their dugout with wide smiles while kneeling on the ground as friends and families cheered from the stands.

JAPAN 4, PANAMA 1

Strong pitching, solid defense and powerful bats have carried the team from Japan to a berth in the international final following a victory over Panama.

Kotaro Kiyomiya homered in the first, and starter Ryuji Osada struck out seven.

The left-handed Kiyomiya displayed prodigious power for a 13-year-old slugger. His blast landed nearly halfway up the hill beyond the right-field wall, about 310 feet from the plate.

“As soon as I hit it I knew it was a home run,” he said through an interpreter. “That’s why I didn’t take off quickly.”

Panama finally got on the board in the fifth after Edwin Nieto hustled around first to score on a double by Daniel Cruz and an error.

But Osada got the next batter to ground weakly to short to end the threat.

On the international side, Japan is a traditional power, having appeared in the World Series finals four out of the previous six years, including a title in 2010.

Now, Tokyo is two wins away from taking home another title to Japan.


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