SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Cody Walker hit a two-run homer off ace Go Matsumoto, Ryan Carter struck out 11, and Columbus, Ga., beat Kawaguchi City, Japan, 2-1, to win the Little League World Series championship game yesterday.
It was the second straight American victory in the Series, coming on the heels of Ewa Beach, Hawaii's win over a team from Willemstad, Curacao last year. The United States hadn't captured back-to-back Little League titles with different teams since 1982-83 when Kirkland, Wash., and Marietta, Ga., celebrated in Williamsport.
Long Beach, Calif., was a repeat champion in 1992-93 -- the first victory awarded after a Phillipines squad was stripped of the title for using over-age players.
``It feels great," Walker said with a grin.
Matsumoto's fastball was devastating yesterday except for Walker's shot in the third inning that followed a baserunning blunder.
Carter overcame a bout of wildness in the sixth and final inning. With two runners on, he got Ryoya Sato to hit a weak bouncer to Josh Lester at second for the last out of the game.
Columbus's rally was nearly thwarted by Carter's mistake on the bases.
Carter took off from first on Lester's single to center but didn't heed the stop sign from manager Randy Morris at third. He was nailed at home for the second out.
It didn't matter, because Walker then hit his opposite-field shot over the right-field fence.
Rain forced the title game to be pushed back from Sunday, and organizers then moved the starting time ahead by three hours after weather forecasts showed another chance of rain in the evening.