West Region Goes Back-to-Back as Champions – Little League World Series Recap

Story posted August 29, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Allie Wenskoski

El Segundo Little League beat Pabao Little League 6-5 to become the 2023 Little League World Series champions on Sunday. “USA” chants echoed through the crowd as the team rushed to the field in celebration.

The field wasn’t just taken by storm because of the victory, but because it was secured with a walk-off home run that bounced above the yellow line and into the bullpen dirt above.

Number two hitter Louis Lappe was the one to hit the game-deciding blast and became the player to hit the most home runs of the entire 2023 Little League World Series with five.

However, Lappe’s home run wasn’t the only one of the game. Nasir El-Ossais changed El Segundo’s 5-1 lead to a tie ballgame with a grand slam in the fifth.

It was a dramatic last two innings of the Little League World Series. With 37 games played, no team was left undefeated. Although uncommon in some tournaments, this happens quite often with the Little League tournament as it is double elimination style.

El Segundo, based in California and representing the West Region, won three straight elimination games to become champions. In fact, both teams in the championship came out of the elimination bracket.

This was California’s eighth total title, the most titles for one state.

Taiwan has the most international titles in history with seventeen total. Their team this year was the favorite to win the tournament as well.

They were upset by Pabao Little League, which is based in Curaçao, in the semifinals. Taiwan came back the next day in a 10-0 run-rule win to claim third place.

The championship game was a rematch of the year before. Although it was all different little leagues competing, the 2022 Little League World Series was also West versus Curaçao, but with the West Region team from Hawaii.

Besides the champions, highlighting the tournament was the Southeast Region team. Not only was this Nolensville Little League’s third straight appearance in the tournament, but they had a special player on the team who wore number twelve.

Stella Weaver became the 22nd female participant in the tournament. The Southeast Region wasn’t nicknamed “Stella and the Fellas” for no reason.

Weaver recorded four hits during the tournament. This number broke the US record of hits by a girl and tied the all-time record which was set by Japan’s Sayaka Tsushima 25 years ago.

Not only was she fierce at the plate, but on the rubber. She pitched a 10-0 shutout in regionals and started a game during the World Series also.

Nolensville Little League was also noted for its unique warmup style. Instead of using their infield and outfield time to practice in the usual way, they would act out warming up by taking infield and outfield without a ball.

Controversy did rip through the tournament when one of Team Cuba’s coaches, Jose Perez, left  the Little League International Complex in the late hours of Aug. 19 and did not return. The team did play the rest of their time and returned to Cuba without him.

This was Cuba’s first visit to the Little League World Series and came just hours after the country extended its relationship with Little League International to 2025.

Some teams traveled home immediately after losing, with others staying to watch the championship. Either way, all enjoyed all that Williamsport had to offer with the Complex.

Most noticeable was the mud stains on uniforms which appeared after teams spent time sledding down the hill next to Lamade Stadium in cardboard boxes.

Allie Wenskoski is a sophomore broadcast journalism student. To contact her, please email amw7637@psu.edu.