Needville, Texas, falls 1 win short of Little League World Series championship game

Texas faces Chinese Taipei in the LLWS consolation game on Sunday at 10 a.m. The game airs on ESPN.

ByMatt Guillermo KTRK logo
Sunday, August 27, 2023
Needville's story in Williamsport doesn't end despite US title loss
Needville's bats were silenced in their rematch with El Segundo, California. Despite defeat, Needville's story isn't over in Williamsport.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pennsylvania (KTRK) -- The Needville Little League All-Stars couldn't overcome a lights-out pitching effort against El Segundo, California, falling short, 6-1, in the United States Championship Game on Saturday.

DJ Jablonski, Needville's sure-handed, lefty ace, gave up a solo home run in the first inning and a two-RBI single in the third inning. He was able to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning, spoiling California's leadoff double to the left field wall.

He threw 87 pitches across four and one-third innings with six strikeouts.

California extended its lead in the bottom of the fifth, with home-run machine Louis Lappe crushing a three-run Little League bomb to right field off of reliever Easton Ondruch.

Meanwhile, the Texas team was locked down at the plate. California's own ace, Lappe, threw three 1-2-3 innings in a row. Lappe ended up with nine strikeouts.

Needville did wake up in the fifth inning, with its only run scored. Jablonski hit a double off the left field wall while also advancing to third base in the same sequence. That allowed Ondruch to induce a passed ball walk to bring home Jablonski.

This doesn't end Texas' story at the LLWS. Needville faces Chinese Taipei in the consolation game on Sunday at 10 a.m. This game airs on ABC13's sister network ESPN.

How they got there

Texas was the lone undefeated team from the U.S. bracket, but its games have been tight.

It took the team from Needville, Texas, nine innings to defeat Washington 1-0 on Wednesday - its third game decided by two runs or fewer.

Texas also defeated Pennsylvania 2-1 in the opening round, beat North Dakota 6-2 and won 3-1 against its U.S. championship opponent, California, before knocking off Washington from the winner's bracket.

Despite falling to Texas in its second game, California has won its last three games.

The team from El Segundo, California, beat Ohio 4-3 in its first game and bounced back from its loss to Texas with a 9-3 victory over Rhode Island. California then defeated Tennessee 5-3 on Wednesday and Washington 2-1 on Thursday.

SEE ALSO: Needville gets well-deserved day off to prepare for US Championship Game on Saturday

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Previous stories on Needville's road to the U.S. championship game

Needville plates winning run in 9-inning thriller vs. NE Seattle

Needville Little League improves to 3-0 at World Series, advances to play Seattle

Needville Little League advances to face California after earning 2nd World Series win a row

Needville, Texas, knocks off Media, Pennsylvania, to open Little League World Series