Panama advances to international championship game of LLWS

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) Esmith Pineda smashed a go-ahead three-run homer in the fifth inning and Panama beat South Korea 3-2 on Wednesday night for a spot in the international championship game of the Little League World Series.

Tomas Sarmiento and Carlos Gonzalez both reached on walks to set the table for Pineda's shot to deep center field to give the team from Aguadulce a 3-2 lead.

Seum Kwon led off the top of the sixth by laying down a successful bunt. It was South Korea's first hit of the game. He advanced to second on passed ball and went to third on a wild pitch with two outs but Youbin Choi grounded out to the shortstop.

It was the first loss for South Korea in 14 LLWS games. The club from Seoul will face Mexico in an elimination game on Thursday.

South Korea scored two runs in the fourth without the benefit of a hit. Jungtaek Ru walked to lead off the inning and had a heads-up play to reach second while the Panama catcher was distracted. He scored on a throwing error to first base and Choi's sacrifice fly scored Kwon for a 2-0 lead.

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