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Needville falls in U.S. final at Little League World Series

The team from southwest of Houston will face Chinese Taipei in the third-place game at 10 a.m. Sunday.

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Needville LLWS US Final
AP Photo/Tom E. Puskar
Needville, Texas’ Dayln Martin (6), Corbin Riddle (14) and Easton Benge (8) react after losing to El Segundo, Calif., in the United States Championship baseball game at the Little League World Series tournament in South Williamsport, Pa., Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023.

Needville will make one more appearance in what has been an unforgettable Little League World Series for the small town southwest of Houston and its talented group of 12-year-olds.

Unfortunately for Needville, a community of about 3,000 residents in Fort Bend County, its quest for a championship ended Saturday.

El Segundo, California, avenged a previous loss and stopped Needville’s unbeaten run in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, winning 6-1 in the U.S. championship game in front of a national television audience and crowd of nearly 29,000 fans at Lamade Stadium.

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Needville, which is 4-1 in its debut appearance at the international youth baseball tournament, will face Chinese Taipei in the third-place game at 10 a.m. Sunday in a game that will be televised on ESPN. El Segundo will take on Curacao in the 2 p.m. championship game, which will be broadcast on ABC.

Needville LLWS Jablonski US Final
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
Needville, Texas’ DJ Jablonski pauses on the mound during the third inning of the United States Championship baseball game against El Segundo, Calif., at the Little League World Series tournament in South Williamsport, Pa., Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023.

Needville’s ace left-hander, DJ Jablonski, who nearly pitched a complete game against El Segundo in a 3-1 win Monday, could not keep the California team at bay again. Brody Brooks hit a home run to center field to lead off the game for El Segundo, which scored twice more in the third inning on a two-out, run single by Louis Lappe.

RELATED: Needville wins extra-inning thriller, advancing to U.S. final at Little League World Series

Jablonski, who had two of Needville’s three hits offensively, cut the deficit to 3-1 when he hit a leadoff double in the top of the fifth and scored on a wild pitch. But Lappe, who stands 6-foot-1, all but ended Needville’s hopes for a comeback with a three-run homer to right in the bottom of the fifth.

Needville LLWS Louis Lappe
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
El Segundo, Calif.’s Louis Lappe (19) is greeted by Needville, Texas’ Dayln Martin (6) as he rounds second base after hitting a three-run home run during the fifth inning of the United States Championship baseball game at the Little League World Series tournament in South Williamsport, Pa., Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023. California won 6-1.

Lappe also shined on the mound for El Segundo, striking out 10 batters in 5.1 innings. Brooks came on in relief to record the final two outs and finished 3 for 3 with three runs scored at the plate.

Easton Ondruch had the other hit for Needville.

Adam Zuvanich

Adam Zuvanich

Digital Content Producer

Adam Zuvanich writes locally relevant digital news stories for Houston Public Media. He grew up in the Houston area and earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas before working as a sportswriter in Austin, Lubbock, Odessa, St. Louis and San Antonio. Zuvanich returned home to Houston and made...

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