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The Boston Globe

Sports

California stops Westport at Little League World Series, faces Japan for title

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — When California starter Nick Mora had to leave the game with one out to go, he wasn’t too happy.

‘‘I wanted that complete game. I was kind of disappointed,’’ Mora said.

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He was all smiles moments later when Giancarlo Cortez recorded the final out, completing Chula Vista’s 12-1 victory over Westport, Conn., in the US title game of the Little League World Series on Saturday.

California will play Japan for the World Series title on Sunday. Japan beat Mexico, 3-2, earlier Saturday on Takuma Gomi’s leadoff home run in the sixth inning. Japan and Mexico had faced off 14 times in World Series history, and Japan improved to 10-5 against its rival.

Mora gave California the spark it needed with ace righthander Grant Holman not eligible to pitch until Sunday. Mora struck out 10 and walked one before reaching his pitch limit.

‘‘When I was pitching, I knew most of their weaknesses and I was able to hit those spots,’’ said Mora, who also drove in four runs with a homer and single. ‘‘When I was hitting, I wasn’t trying to hit a home run. I was trying to hit a line drive up the middle. That’s when the home runs come.’’

California took a 6-1 lead in the first two innings against the New England champions, scoring three times in the first with the help of some sloppy Connecticut play, and adding three more on Mora’s long three-run homer in the second.

It had been a memorable World Series for both teams.

The 6-foot-4-inch Holman pitched the first extra-inning no-hitter in the Little League World Series since 1979, striking out 13 in seven innings in a 3-0 first-round victory over Grosse Pointe, Mich.

Holman also won Wednesday night’s game against Connecticut with a three-run homer in the ninth inning, and he hit a grand slam in the fourth inning that ended a mercy rule-shortened 15-3 victory over Newark, Del.

For Connecticut, Chad Knight lined a run-scoring single to deep left field in the seventh inning to give the New England champions a wild 14-13 win over Sammamish, Wash., on Friday. He also hit a solo homer to tie it at 13 in the fifth inning.

Perhaps worn out from all that excitement and with not much time to recover, Connecticut fell behind early against California and couldn’t muster another valiant rally.

‘‘I want these guys to immediately celebrate their success and forget about this game,’’ Connecticut manager Tim Rogers said. ‘‘We lost to a fantastic team. We have to remember we are one of the last two teams in the USA.’’

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