The Sports Report: El Segundo wins the Little League World Series
Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.
Go beyond the scoreboard
Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.
From Eric Sondheimer: Summer baseball ended Sunday for the El Segundo Little League team. Players will be headed home to begin classes. Gloves, bats and cleats will be put away. Chores, such as taking out the trash or walking the dog, will resume.
Except what a tale they will get to share after experiencing the journey of a lifetime.
The 12 players from a close-knit beach community are world champions after defeating Curaçao 6-5 in a wild championship game of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., when Louis Lappe hit a walk-off home run to left field in the bottom of the sixth, his fifth of the tournament. El Segundo had to win five consecutive elimination games to become the first team from California to capture the world title since Huntington Beach Ocean View in 2011. It is the eighth LLWS title won by a California Little League team.
With spectators filling the outfield berms at Howard J. Lamade Stadium and El Segundo fans supporting with watch parties at home, El Segundo put on another impressive hitting exhibition. Lucas Keldorf delivered a two-run double in the first inning and Jaxon Kalish had a two-run single in the third. Crew O’Connor’s first hit of the tournament was an RBI single in the fourth for a 5-1 lead.
But Curaçao tied the score 5-5 in the top of the fifth on a dramatic grand slam to right field from Nasir El-Ossais off Max Baker with two outs. Baker was forced to enter the game after Kalish left the mound while complaining of elbow soreness.
With momentum changing in favor of Curaçao, El Segundo brought in closer Brody Brooks to pitch the sixth trying to provide a emotional lift. He delivered with a scoreless inning. Up came Lappe, who took the first pitch for a ball. He sent the second pitch far over the left-field wall to end the game, tossing up his bat as he saw the ball leave the field.
“This is a unique feeling that maybe only five or less people experience in their lifetime,” Lappe said. “I feel great. It’s hard to beat this feeling. I don’t know what would make me feel happier.”
Manager Danny Boehle gave the scene watching from the dugout.
“When we started the inning, I look at Louis and say, “They’re probably going to walk you,’” Boehle said. “Then he gets into the box and they’re throwing to him. Wow, there’s not a chance in the world I’d pitch to him. The second pitch, as soon as he hit it, I knew it was gone, gone, gone. I looked at him and we’re both crying.”
Enjoying this newsletter? Consider subscribing to the Los Angeles Times
Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Become a subscriber.
From Jack Harris: It all looked so natural.
His smooth glide around the bases after clearing the Green Monster. His lightning-quick closing speed on fly balls in right field. Even his confident demeanor and easy smile — the same one that endeared him to Boston Red Sox fans for six years, and dazzled them again for three days this weekend.
Mookie Betts knew his return to Fenway Park would be special.
His sensational play during the series, however, became a sentimental bonus.
“You have to separate business and emotions,” he said. “But they were there. You just can’t let them get in the way of your job.”
Betts had no problem doing so in his long-awaited reunion, closing the trip with another leading performance in the Dodgers’ 7-4 rubber-match win on Sunday afternoon
NL WEST STANDINGS
Arizona, 69-62, 12 GB
San Francisco, 67-63, 13.5 GB
San Diego, 61-70, 20 GB
Colorado, 49-81, 31.5 GB
top three teams qualify
San Francisco, 67-63, 1.5 GB
Cincinnati, 68-64, 1.5 GB
Miami, 66-65, 3 GB
The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and was 3 for 9 with three runs, two steals and an RBI in his first series since the Angels said he tore a ligament in his right elbow while pitching Wednesday.
Los Angeles, which won the first two games of the series, took a 2-1 lead in the eighth on Luis Rengifo’s solo homer off reliever Drew Smith.
AL WEST STANDINGS
Texas, 73-57, 1 GB
Houston, 74-58, 1 GB
Angels, 63-68, 11.5 GB
Oakland, 38-93, 36.5 GB
top three teams qualify
Tampa Bay, 80-52
Toronto, 71-60, 3.5 GB
Boston, 69-62, 4.5 GB
Angels, 63-68, 10.5 GB
New York, 62-68, 11 GB
Cleveland, 62-69, 11.5 GB
From Bill Plaschke: The USC football opener against San José State on Saturday could be best described by the sound that often descended upon the heavily populated Coliseum throughout a furiously emotional evening.
It was that damn defense.
What was the deal with the Trojan defense? Wasn’t this defense supposed to be revamped? Wasn’t this defense supposed to be, you know, better?
The Trojans won 56-28, but the defense lost again. And again. And again.
The unit that dragged the team to consecutive defeats at the end of last season looked like the same battered burden. The unit that allowed an average of 432 yards per game last season allowed 396 yards in big chunks.
Honestly, sometimes they still can’t even tackle.
From Gary Klein: The Rams, seeking to bolster an offensive line that must protect quarterback Matthew Stafford, traded for Pittsburgh Steelers guard Kevin Dotson on Sunday, said a person with knowledge of the situation who was not authorized to speak publicly about the transaction.
The Steelers will receive the Rams’ fourth-round draft pick in 2024 and the Rams’ fifth-round pick in 2025, and the Rams will receive the Steelers’ fifth-round pick in 2024 and the Steelers’ sixth-round pick in 2025, ESPN reported.
The 6-foot-4, 321-pound Dotson, 26, started 17 games last season.
Alyssa Thomas scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, DeWanna Bonner moved into seventh place on the all-time scoring list and the Connecticut Sun pulled away in the second half for an 83-68 victory over the Sparks on Sunday, snapping the Sparks’ six-game win streak.
Thomas sank six of 11 shots from the floor and five of six free throws for Connecticut (24-11), which has already clinched a playoff berth. Thomas has 25 double-doubles this season. She added eight assists. Bonner scored 12 points to break a tie with Sue Bird. Bonner has 6,815 career points. She also had eight rebounds.
Azurá Stevens finished with 17 points to lead the Sparks (15-19). The Sparks currently hold the final playoff spot, leading Chicago by two games with the Sky playing at the Seattle Storm later Sunday.
Goals from Clarisse Le Bihan and Madison Hammond gave Angel City a 2-1 victory over the OL Reign, its first victory over the Seattle-based team in front of 22,000 fans at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles.
In the 13th minute, Hammond sent a ball over the top to Scarlett Camberos. Reign goalkeeper Claudia Dickey came out to challenge the ball and missed it, leaving Camberos free to send a cross into the box, which Le Bihan put into the net.
Hammond doubled Angel City’s lead in the 57th minute, getting onto a free kick that slid through Dickey’s hands.
A decade later, Simone Biles is still on top.
The gymnastics star won her record eighth U.S. championship Sunday night, 10 years after she ascended to the top of her sport as a teenage prodigy.
Biles, now a 26-year-old newlywed considered perhaps the greatest of all time, posted an all-around two-day total of 118.40, four points clear of runner-up Shilese Jones. Florida junior Leanne Wong claimed third, bolstering her chances of making a third straight world championship team.
Biles is all but assured of returning to the gym where she captured her first world title in 2013. Over the course of two electric nights at the SAP Center, she served notice that even after a two-year break following the Tokyo Olympics, in gymnastics there is the one referred to as the GOAT and there is everyone else.
Biles became the oldest woman to win a national title since USA Gymnastics began organizing the event in 1963. Her eight crowns moved her past Alfred Jochim, who won seven between 1925-33 when the Amateur Athletics Union ran the championships and the events in men’s competition included rope climbing.
“I don’t think about numbers,” Biles said. “I think about my performance. And I think overall, I hit 8 for 8. I guess it’s a lucky number this year.”
Viktor Hovland played the best golf of his life in the final two weeks of the PGA Tour season, and it paid off Sunday with the biggest trophy of his career — a FedEx Cup title along with the $18 million bonus.
Staked to a six-shot lead, Hovland didn’t flinch under a relentless challenge from Xander Schauffele. The 25-year-old Norwegian stayed on the attack and closed with a seven-under 63 for a five-shot victory in the Tour Championship at East Lake.
Hovland capped off his best season with three victories. Even more staggering is that he played his final tournaments — the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields and the Tour Championship — in 36-under par.
THIS DATE IN SPORTS
1886 — Richard Sears beats R. Livingston Beeckman 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 to win his sixth straight U.S. national tennis championship.
1888 — Henry Slocum defeats Howard Taylor 6-4, 6-1, 6-0 to win the eighth U.S. men’s national tennis championship. Slocum, last year’s runner-up, is the first men’s champion other than Richard Sears. Sears, the U.S. champion from 1881-1887, retired last year.
1908 — Fred McLeod wins the U.S. Open golf title with a one-stroke victory over Willie Smith in a playoff.
1922 — The oldest American international team golf match, the Walker Cup, is established with the U.S. beating Britain 8-4.
1950 — Althea Gibson becomes the first Black player to compete in the U.S. Open. Gibson wins her first round match, defeating Barbara Knapp of Britain 6-2, 6-2 at Forest Hills in New York.
1977 — The Cosmos beat the Seattle Sounders 2-1 at Portland, Ore., to win their second NASL title. Giorgio Chinaglia’s header in the 77th minute is the winning goal.
1977 — Nolan Ryan strikes out 300 batters for 5th straight year.
1990 — Stefan Edberg becomes the first top-seeded player since John Newcombe in 1971 to lose in the first round of the U.S. Open. Edberg loses to Alexander Volkov of the Soviet Union, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2.
1993 — Pinch-hitter Jeremy Hess’ bases-loaded single with two outs in the sixth inning gives Long Beach, Calif. a 3-2 victory over Panama in the championship game of the Little League World Series.
1994 — Tiger Woods, 18, becomes the youngest winner in the history of the U.S. Amateur Golf Championship, capturing the last three holes of his 36-hole title match against Trip Kuehne.
1995 — Monica Seles, plays in her first Grand Slam tournament in more than 2 1-2 years and beats Ruxandra Dragomir 6-3, 6-1 in first round of the U.S. Open.
2004 — The U.S. women’s basketball team goes through the Athens Olympics undefeated to win its 5th Olympic gold medal, beating Australia 74-63 in the final.
2004 — Led by San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginóbili Argentina beats Italy 84-69 for the Olympic basketball gold medal in Athens; star-studded U.S. team takes bronze.
2005 — Michael Memea’s home run in the bottom of the seventh gives West Oahu of Ewa Beach, Hawaii, the Little League World Series title.
2008 — Top-seeded Ana Ivanovic is ousted from the U.S. Open, beaten by 188th-ranked Julie Coin 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in the second round. Never before in the Open era that began in 1968 had the No. 1 woman lost this early in the tournament.
2011 — California returns the Little League World Series title to the U.S. with a 2-1 victory over Hamamatsu City, Japan.
2014 — Acknowledging he “didn’t get it right” with a two-game suspension for Ravens running back Ray Rice, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces tougher penalties for players accused of domestic violence, including six weeks for a first offense and at least a year for a second.
2016 — Ryan Harlost leads Endwell, New York, to the Little League World Series title, striking out eight and limiting South Korea to five hits in six innings in a 2-1 victory.
—Compiled by the Associated Press
Louis Lappe’s walk-off homer gives El Segundo the Little League World Series title. Watch and listen here.
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.