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Chicago to represent America in Little League World Series finale

Chicago rallies for U.S. Little League title
Chicago rallies for U.S. Little League title
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Little League World Series needed new darlings after Mo'ne Davis and the Taney Dragons were eliminated. The Little Leaguers from Las Vegas, Nevada were the first to beat Davis and the Dragons, before Chicago, Illinois finished them off a night later. This left Las Vegas and Chicago to battle for the U.S. championship on Aug. 23, with the youngsters from Jackie Robinson West in Chicago rallying for a 7-5 win that put them on the brink of a bigger World Series title.

Chicago had already overcome a 3-0 deficit to take a 4-3 lead, until Las Vegas struck back in the fifth with a two-run homer from Brad Stone off of Joshua Houston. Yet it was Houston himself who made up for it at the plate, tying the game in the bottom of the fifth with a single. A fielders' choice and a Las Vegas error is what gave Chicago the lead for good, however.

In the mania surrounding Davis and Taney, it was easy to forget there were other teams in the Little League World Series. Yet Las Vegas and Chicago both proved it on consecutive nights, and now its Chicago that is on the brink of being a world champion. With no more opposition in America, only South Korea stands in the way of that final goal.

The South Koreans had an easier time of things in the international championship game, thanks to a seven-run second inning against Japan. The 12-3 victory put South Korea on the brink of its third world title, but first since its back-to-back titles in 1984 and 1985.

Most of the crowd in Williamsport will be pulling for Chicago, hoping for a glorious final act in one of the most publicized Little League World Series' in recent memory. While Davis and Taney were responsible for most of it, the little stars from Jackie Robinson West can now win something even more valuable than a Sports Illustrated cover story.

The thrills at Williamsport clearly haven't faded away even after Taney's departure, as Chicago and Las Vegas proved. But this sets the bar even higher for the grand finale, starting at 3 p.m. est on ABC.