Michael Memea rounded third with his right hand held high, barreling toward his jubilant teammates after his solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning capped a stunning comeback to give West Oahu of Ewa Beach, Hawaii, the Little League World Series title yesterday in South Williamsport, Pa.
Memea lined a pitch over the center field wall with nobody out to earn a 7-6 win over the defending champions from Willemstad, Curacao. The homer completed a rally from a three-run deficit in the previous inning.
Down 6-3 with runners on second and third and nobody out, Vonn Fe'ao scored from third on a bunt single by Ty Tirpak. Zachary Rosete then hit an RBI single to left to close the gap to 6-5.
Three batters and one out later, Alaka'i Aglipay hit a bouncer to second that looked like it would be an easy double play, but he beat the throw to first, allowing Rosete to score the tying run.
Sorick Liberia had broken open a 3-3 game in the fifth with a two-run homer that soared beyond a short hill past the left field wall. Darren Seferina added a solo shot to give Curacao its three-run lead.
The Curacao team from the Pabao Little League was trying to become the first repeat winners in South Williamsport since Long Beach, Calif., won back-to-back titles in 1992-93.
* TENNIS: James Blake beat Feliciano Lopez, 3-6, 7-5, 6-1, completing an improbable run from unseeded challenger to champion of the Pilot Pen tournament in front of a hometown crowd in New Haven, Conn.
Blake, who was raised in nearby Fairfield, was the biggest draw of the tournament and said the raucous crowds gave him confidence as he upset higher ranked opponents every day.
He came out sluggish in the first set, however, and Lopez capitalized, playing to Blake's backhand and winning 11 of the set's final 12 points.
After a rain delay of nearly an hour, Blake battled back, winning a close second set and using a powerful forehand to dominate the third.
* TRACK AND FIELD: Aziz Zakari of Ghana ran under 10 seconds in the 100 meters, and he didn't care that Justin Gatlin and Asafa Powell were not at the Rieti (Italy) Grand Prix to see it.
Zakari won in a meet record of 9.99 seconds, matching a career best. Powell set the world record of 9.77 two months ago; Gatlin is the Olympic and world champion.
"Today's my day," Zakari said. "With them or not, if I run 9.99 I'm going to be happy."
Tyson Gay of the United States, fourth in the 200 at the worlds, finished second in 10.08.
Brad Walker was the only man to clear 19 feet 63/4 inches in the pole vault. He failed in three bids to clear 19-93/4 for an American record.
* SAILING: Defending champion Alinghi of Switzerland extended its winning streak to 18 match races, beating two of the worst teams in the Louis Vuitton Act 6 regatta. BMW Oracle, the only boat from the United States, also won both races.
The Louis Vuitton Acts are a series of 14 regattas that started last year as a prelude to the 2007 America's Cup, which will be held off Valencia, Spain. The results of these races will help seed the competition for the 2007 challenger trials.
The round-robin series ends tomorrow. The entire armada will then be on the water for three days of fleet racing beginning Friday.
Alinghi captured the America's Cup, the world's oldest sports trophy, two years ago. Since Switzerland did not have suitable waters for racing, Valencia was selected as host.
* HOCKEY: An arbitrator ruled that Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Dick Tarnstrom should make $1.6 million this season.
The team has 48 hours to respond to the arbitrator's award, which was announced Saturday. General Manager Craig Patrick won't announce plans for Tarnstrom until today, the team said.
If the Penguins reject the arbitrator's award, they won't receive compensation if he signs with another team.
-- From News Services