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2001 Little League World Series

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The 2001 Little League World Series was won by the Japanese entry for the second time in three years. The Kitasuna team from Tokyo didn't come by it easily, though, trailing Apopka, FL 1-0 in the 6th and final inning. Before a record attendance of 44,800 (including George W. Bush), Japan rallied. With one out, Nobuhisa Baba singled over the glove of SS Stuart Tapley to drive in two runs and give Japan the slight victory.

Japan had also rallied to win the semifinal, another 2-1 game. Down 1-0 in the bottom of the 6th, Atsushi Mochizuki launched a 2-run homer to decide the contest. Apopka had routed the Bronx, NY 8-2 in the other semifinal.

The big story of the event, though, was Danny Almonte of the Bronx. He struck out 16 in a perfect game against Apopka. He then fanned 16 in a one-hitter against Oceanside, CA. In the 3rd/4th place game, Almonte fanned 14 in a 9-1 win over Curacao. When it was revealed that Almonte was 14 (and thus two years too old to be playing), the Bronx lost their medals, which went to Curacao instead. Another Bronx player was Francisco Peña, son of Tony Peña.

Future major leaguer Rubén Tejada played for Panama.

Source: 2002 Baseball Almanac

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