Eastlake Falls Short in LLWS Final, Still U.S. Champs

Japan beat the boys from Chula Vista, Calif., 6-4 at the final LLWS game Sunday

By Monica Garske
|  Monday, Aug 26, 2013  |  Updated 7:57 AM PDT
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Eastlake All-Stars Prep for Westport

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WILLIAMSPORT, PA - AUGUST 25: Micah Pietila-Wiggs #7 of the West team from Chula Vista, Ca scores on a passed ball as pitcher Kazuki Ishida #10 of the Tokyo, Japan team covers the plate during the first inning of the Little League World Series Championship game on August 25, 2013 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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Eastlake All-Stars Prep for Westport

Eastlake Coach Doug Holman spoke with NBC 7 News Today on Wednesday to talk about the team's experience in Williamsport, Penn.
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Despite a truly valiant effort, the Eastlake All-Stars -- also known as the U.S. Champions -- came up short in the Little League World Series on Sunday, losing 6-4 to Tokyo, Japan.

It was an intense final game at Lamade Stadium in Williamsport, Penn., with both teams truly giving their all on the field for a final shot at victory.

It was clear from the start why these two teams made the finals. In the first inning alone, both sides went tit-for-tat, scoring 2 runs each.

Eastlake’s Giancarlo Cortez took a pitch to the helmet in the first inning, which knocked him to the ground. Through tears, he got up and was escorted to the training room for evaluation.

By the fourth inning, Cortez was back to rally for his team.

Both teams held on to the initial tie score until the bottom of the third inning, when Tokyo’s Shunpei Takagi hit a home run bringing the score to 3-2, Japan.

Then, in the fourth inning, things changed once again. Eastlake scored two more runs -- one thanks to a powerful RBI hit from Cortez -- bringing the score to 4-3, Eastlake.

At the bottom of the fifth, Japan took the lead once again. Takagi scored another home run, tying the score, 4-4. Tokyo then scored two more runs, leading Eastlake 6-4.

Eastlake was unable to catch up in the sixth inning, and Japan ultimately took the LLWS title.

Throughout the game, parents and fans in the crowd could be heard rooting loudly for team from Chula Vista, Calif.

The crowd, decked out in Eastlake team colors, chanted and clapped: “Let’s go Eastlake! Let’s Go Eastlake!”

Meanwhile, back in San Diego, fans gathered at Eastlake Tavern & Bowl for a huge viewing party, showing their support for the hometown team.

Following the game, city officials announced that a special homecoming celebration would be held for the U.S. Champions on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista.

"Congratulations to the players and coaches of Eastlake Little League All-Stars. Chula Vista is excited to applaud your outstanding accomplishments!" the City of Chula Vista said in press release Sunday.

Yard signs have been populating the community of Eastlake in the South Bay since the team earned the West Regional championship title two weeks ago, many boasting the team’s inspirational slogan, “Find a Way.”

The Eastlake Little League All-Stars roster includes Grant Holman, Jake Espinoza, Micah Wiggs, Michael Gaines, Kevin Bateman, Rennard Williams, Dominic Haley, Charly Peterson, Giancarlo Cortez, Nick Mora, Patrick Archer and Ricky Tibbett.

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