SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) — Jay-Dlynn Wiel and Nasir El-Ossais got back-to-back singles off Taiwanese ace Fan Chen-Jun and later scored, leading Curacao to a 2-0 victory over Taiwan on Saturday in the semifinals of the Little League World Series.
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.
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.
Curacao will play the winner of the semifinal in the U.S. bracket, between California and Texas. That game was scheduled for later Saturday.
Curacao is back in the Little League World Series championship after losing to Hawaii 13-3 in the title game last year. Curacao, an island with a population of just over 150,000, has won the Little League World Series once, in 2004. It has been the runner-up three times since and has five players and the coaching staff back from last year’s champs of the international bracket.
Taiwan dominated the LLWS from 1969 to 1996, winning 17 times, but has not won the tournament since. It made the championship in 2009 under manager Lee Cheng-Ta, who also managed this year’s club.
Spencer Ripchik is a student in the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism at Penn State.
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Spencer Ripchik, The Associated Press