Pitching and defense still win championships, as Hawai'i demonstrated Sunday at the Little League World Series.
The team from Honolulu Little League shut out South Korea 3-0 behind a two-hit, complete-game shutout from Ka'olu Holt for Hawai'i's third title in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and its first since 2008.
It was the first championship game to end in a shutout since 2002, when Kentucky defeated Japan 1-0. But shutouts were the norm for Hawai'i (5-0), which held its opponents scoreless in four of its five victories and closed out the tournament with 17 consecutive shutout innings.
Holt threw 79 pitches, striking out eight and walking one against South Korea (4-1). In four LLWS appearances, Holt allowed just one run in 12⅔ innings of work.
Hawai'i's pitching staff finished with an ERA of 0.35 as the team outscored its opponents, 26-3, to finish with a tournament-best run differential of plus-23.
Meanwhile, Hawai'i backed its pitching with stellar defense. The team committed only two errors over the five games. Both came in its second game, an 8-3 victory over Michigan. That was the only game in which Hawai'i allowed any runs, so Hawai'i played error-free baseball in four of the five games.
Hawai'i takes early lead at LLWS with solo HR
Mana Lau Kang hits a solo home run to give Hawai'i a 1-0 lead over South Korea in the Little League World Series championship game.
The victory capped a perfect summer for the Honolulu team, which went 14-0 from beginning to end. Hawai'i, now 3-1 in championship games, became the seventh U.S. state to win at least three LLWS titles.
South Korea fell to 3-2 in LLWS title games and has lost two straight. The previous loss came against Maine-Endwell Little League of New York in 2016.
The tournament produced some outstanding performances from members of every team. Offensively, Adan Sanchez was a force for Panama, leading all LLWS players in four key categories, while Ji Hyung Choi of South Korea and Tai Peete of Georgia led the way in three apiece.
On the mound, there were eight players who finished with a 0.00 ERA, led by Hawai'i's Aukai Kai, who was also among six players to earn two victories while pitching the most innings in the tournament.
Jose De Leon, Riley Foreman and Justin Page of the ESPN Stats & Information Group contributed to this report.