Phenix City, Ala., rode Bryan Woodall's hard-biting curveball to a 3-2 comeback win over defending champion Toms River, N.J., yesterday in the U.S. championship game of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

Phenix City will play Osaka, Japan, today in the world title game.

Toms River was leading, 2-0, in the second inning Thursday night when rain forced suspension of play until yesterday. Manager Mike Gaynor said the delay robbed his team of momentum.

Even though Woodall knew he would be facing the formidable "Beast of the East," which was batting a collective .327, he said he slept soundly.

"The coaches call him the Iceman. He's one of the most even-keeled people you will ever meet. He's absolutely non-kidlike--no nerves at all. Weird," Phenix City Manager Tony Rasmus said.


Williams vs. Davenport

Venus Williams beat Monica Seles, 6-1, 6-3, in the semifinals of the Pilot Pen in New Haven, Conn., to set up her fourth meeting of the year with Lindsay Davenport and their second in a final.

Second-seeded Alex Corretja advanced to the semifinals of the Hamlet Cup in Commack, N.Y., with a 7-6 (10-8), 2-6, 7-6 (7-1) victory over Thomas Enqvist. Magnus Norman upset top-seeded and third-ranked Yevgeny Kafelnikov, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. . . . Unseeded Sjeng Schalken of the Netherlands upset second-seeded Marcelo Rios of Chile, 7-5, 6-0, in quarterfinal play in the U.S. Pro Championships at Longwood Cricket Club in Brookline, Mass.


Uproar in Houston

Four of the five judges who worked a disputed match at the world amateur championships in Houston were suspended by the executive committee of the International Amateur Boxing Association.

The organization's general secretary, Loring Baker, said he was outraged at the diversity of scoring by the judges and vowed a complete investigation into the entire scoring system of amateur boxing. Judges awarded welterweight Timour Gaidalov of Russia the gold medal Thursday night by a 5-3 margin over Juan Hernandez of Cuba, setting off an angry protest and demonstration by the Cubans.

Cuban heavyweight champion Felix Savon later refused to enter the ring for his fight and the title was awarded to Michael Bennett of Chicago. After reviewing the Cuban protest, AIBA reversed the decision and awarded the gold medal to Hernandez.


NBA and WNBA News

The Mavericks re-signed forwards Gary Trent and Cedric Ceballos. Trent signed a one-year contract that includes a player option for a second season; Ceballos agreed to a two-year pact. . . . Free agent forward-center Olden Polynice agreed to a two-year contract with the Utah Jazz. . . . Charlotte Sting guard Dawn Staley (Virginia) won the WNBA's sportsmanship award.


Around the World

In MLS, Raul Diaz Arce scored his 11th goal of the season as the Tampa Bay Mutiny beat the Columbus Crew, 2-1, in Tampa. . . . Marcelo Salas scored in the 35th minute, leading Lazio of Rome over Manchester United, 1-0, in the European SuperCup in Monte Carlo, Monaco.


Umpires Warned

Major league umpires were warned that they will be fired if they strike next week. AL President Gene Budig and NL President Len Coleman sent the warning in a memo dated Aug. 25. Some umpires backing union head Richie Phillips talked about striking over baseball's refusal to allow 22 umpires to withdraw their resignations, which are effective Thursday.

Auto Racing

Stewart Wins Pole

Tony Stewart turned a fast lap of 124.589 mph in his Joe Gibbs-owned Pontiac to win the pole for the Goody's 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. Stewart, who is fifth in the 1999 driver standings, can earn his 15th top-10 finish of the year in tonight's race. . . .

Matt Kenseth chipped into Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s lead atop the NASCAR Busch Grand National driver standings with a dominating victory in the Food City 250 in Bristol, Tenn. . . . Rookie Scott Harrington posted the fastest times in both practice sessions for the Colorado Indy 200 in Fountain, Colo.