Chicago's Jackie Robinson West was able to take advantage of a number of uncharacteristic errors by Nevada in order to reach the Little League World Series finals. Unfortunately, the same couldn't be said for the South Koreans.
The International champions relied on solid defense and a powerful offense to handily beat Illinois 8-4 Sunday.
The victory ends a fairy tale tournament for the South Side-based team. Jackie Robinson West survived four straight elimination games on its way to Sunday's final.
Jae Yeong Hwang drove in two runs and Hae Chan Choi weathered a late Chicago rally to lead South Korea to the win.
Hwang gave up one hit in two-plus innings while striking out four. He also drove in the Asia-Pacific Region champs' first two runs as they built an 8-1 lead before Jackie Robinson West made it close.
Choi, who had a homer and scored twice, pitched the last four innings for South Korea, which won its third title after back-to-back championships in 1985 and '85.
International teams have won the last three and four of the last five titles.
Brandon Green went 5 2-3 innings for Chicago,
Hundreds of fans packed into two official Chicago watch parties Sunday to cheer the team on, one at the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center and the other in front of the Chicago Theater on State Street.
"I have never seen the community come together like this," said Eldridge Dockery, 44, who lives in the South Side's Morgan Park neighborhood. "We're usually behind our walls or gates — but this team brought us out, talking and celebrating together."
Both Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican gubernatorial challenger Bruce Rauner showed up at the community center gym to watch the Jackie Robinson West All Stars.
"It's all about bringing the city together," Rauner told a reporter.
Rauner sat in a front row, bobbing his head at one point as a green alligator mascot led the crowd in a chant to thumping music. At separate times during breaks in the action, both he and Quinn — who are locked in a tight race — got up and danced.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel stood with his arms folded at the same event, rocking in apparent nervousness as the game went on.
"They showed what heart they have. The city could not be prouder of them," Emanuel said.
Emanuel confirmed that a parade will be held for the team on Wednesday. The exact details have not been released.
Dick's Sporting Goods confirmed that new championship shirts will be available at the store Tuesday morning.