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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Homer caps comeback in Hawaii championship
Published August 29, 2005
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - Michael Memea rounded third with his right hand held high, barreling toward his jubilant teammates after his home run in the bottom of the seventh capped a stunning comeback to give West Oahu of Ewa Beach, Hawaii, the Little League World Series title.
Memea lined a pitch over the centerfield wall with nobody out to finish a 7-6 win Sunday over the defending champion from Willemstad, Curacao. The homer completed a rally from a three-run deficit.
With Hawaii down 6-3 with runners on second and third and nobody out in the sixth, Vonn Fe'ao scored from third on a bunt base hit by Ty Tirpak. Zachary Rosete's run-scoring single to left closed the gap to 6-5.
Three batters and one out later, Alaka'i Aglipay hit a bouncer to second that looked like it would be a double play, but he beat the throw to first, allowing Rosete to score the tying run.
Sorick Liberia broke open a tie at 3 in the fifth with a two-run homer beyond a short hill past the leftfield wall. Darren Seferina homered to give Curacao a three-run lead.
The homers drew loud cheers from the small contingent of Curacao fans holding the country's blue and yellow flag and wearing hats of the same color.
Atlanta Braves slugger Andruw Jones was watching on television in Milwaukee after hitting two home runs in his team's win against the Brewers. Jones is from Willemstad, and most of Curacao's players at the LLWS call him their favorite player.
"It's great to see," Jones said in between yelling at the TV and playfully taunting his teammates. "There's a lot of talent down there."
The Curacao team from the Pabao Little League was trying to became the first repeat winner in South Williamsport since Long Beach, Calif., won back-to-back titles in 1992-93.
Down a run with two outs in the third, Curacao held a 3-1 lead thanks in part to a confusing play that started with a run-scoring single to right by Jurickson Profar.
The ball got by outfielder Rosete for an error and on the throw in, Rayshelon Carolina got caught in a rundown but scored after pitcher Quentin Guevara appeared to miss the tag at home. Replays showed the tag was made.
Profar moved to third amid the confusion, then was singled home by Liberia.
West Oahu's big bats erased any bad memories and the two-run deficit when Kini Enos and Aglipay led off the third with consecutive homers.
West Oahu had a tournament-leading 10 home runs coming in but relied on two singles and a wild pitch to score its first run.
Also on Sunday, Ryan Gura's run-scoring single with one out in the bottom of the sixth broke a tie to lift Rancho Buena Vista of Vista, Calif., over Chiba City, Japan, 5-4 in the consolation game.