South Williamsport, Pa. • Youbin Choi struck out 14 and South Korea beat Panama 7-2 Saturday to reach the championship game of the Little League World Series.
The Asia-Pacific Region champs won the international bracket. They will try for their first title Sunday against the winner of a game between teams from Goodlettsville, Tennessee, and Endwell, New York.
Choi gave up six hits in six innings.
“I started with having confidence with the players behind me and all the defensive players and all the offensive players did really good,” Choi said through a translator. “So I felt very comfortable pitching because of my teammates.”
Seum Kwon and Jaekyeong Kim hit two-run homers and Wontae Cho also connected for South Korea (4-0).
“I’m really satisfied with today’s result,” South Korea Manager Heesu Ji said through a translator. “We thought the second inning was an early chance and the pitcher was out of control at that time. Our hitters really did a good job.”
Carlos Gonzalez had three hits for the Latin American Region champions.
South Korea scored five runs in the second to take charge, starting when Minho Choi doubled and scored on Junhyeok Lee’s single. Kwon then homered off Joaquin Tejada, and Kim homered off Esmith Pineda.
Choi had retired six of seven batters before giving up a hit to begin the fourth. Edwar Bethancourth had an RBI single in the fifth.
“We tried very hard to win the game, facing a great team,” Panama manager Luis Gonzalez said.