Louisiana Defeats Curacao For Improbable, Unbelievable Little League World Series Championship

There's a saying in south Louisiana that goes "Laissez les bon temps rouler!" The term most-often used around Mardi Gras means, "Let the good times roll!"

Times are good in the New Orleans area, and all across the Bayou State for that matter, as they celebrate the Eastbank Little League winning the Little League World Series championship in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The team from Louisiana, which won the United States title on Saturday, defeated international champion Curacao, 8-0, on Sunday.

Not bad for the team from River Ridge, Louisiana, an area that didn't even have a Little League until one finally got started six years ago.

The road to Williamsport is long and arduous, to say the least. After a regular season, an all-star team is chosen. They have a brief time to practice as one unit before shuffling off to play in the state's district tournament. Eastbank won district, then moved on to a sectional tournament in Louisiana — which they won.

Next is a state tournament, which Eastbank won. State champions then move on to play in regional tournaments, of which Eastbank went to Waco, Texas, to play in the Southwest Regional — one of the toughest regions in the country with two Texas state champs playing in it.

The team from Louisiana crushed Arkansas, 11-0, in the regional opener. They defeated the East Texas state champion and then the West Texas state champion to advance to the final. They defeated West Texas again to punch their ticket to the Little League World Series.

Little League World Series
Members of the Southwest Region team from River Ridge Louisiana celebrate after getting the last out to defeat the Caribbean Region team from Willemstad, Curacao to win the Championship Game of the Little League World Series at Lamade Stadium on August 25, 2019 in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

In WIlliamsport, there are 16 teams — eight international champions and eight American regional champions. There's an international bracket and a United States bracket. Louisiana drew a tough Hawaii team in the first round. After Eastbank plated an early run to take a 1-0 lead, defensive miscues led to Hawaii taking a lead and eventually winning the game, 5-2.

No team had ever lost their first game of the Little League World Series and come through the loser's bracket to win the U.S. national championship. But Eastbank relaxed, refocused and played it one pitch, one inning and one game at a time.

Louisiana defeated the Northwest Regional champ from Salem, Oregon, 3-2. They moved on and beat the Midwest champion from Coon Rapids, Minnesota, 10-0. The Eastbank all-stars then defeated the Mid-Atlantic champ from Elizabeth, New Jersey, 4-1. In the semifinal of the U.S. tournament, Eastbank defeated the Southeast regional champ from South Riding, Virginia, 10-0.

In the U.S. Championship game awaited the West Regional champ from Wailuku, Hawaii, the team that beat Louisiana in the first round. Eastbank got revenge, winning the U.S. National Championship, 9-5. It capped a remarkable comeback through the loser's bracket after losing their first game, and accomplishing something no U.S. team had ever done in the history of the LLWS.

Next up was a game with Curacao, who won a tough Caribbean Region before battling through the international bracket, beating Japan, 5-4, on Saturday for that title.

Louisiana jumped out to an early lead Sunday and got timely hits throughout the game. Eastbank pitcher Egan Prather went the distance, striking out six batters in six innings while allowing only two hits.

Louisiana right fielder Reece Roussel had two hits in the game, bringing his total hits in the LLWS to 17, which set a new tournament record. The old record was 14. Roussel also had seven extra base hits, which tied a Little League World Series record.

Third baseman Marshall Louque had three hits and three runs batted in (RBI) in the championship.

The boys from Louisiana celebrated after the victory, and it wasn't just the players and coaches. It was the fans and parents who made the trip, it was folks from Louisiana all over social media and it was a few well-known sports figures from Louisiana.

Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, who was a Louisiana baseball hero up the road at LSU in Baton Rouge, tweeted words of encouragement. So did New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who sent the team a message even after his team's preseason football win Saturday night.

The Eastbank All-Stars accomplished a Little League World Series championship only six years after starting a program, and they did it even after losing their first game in Williamsport.

The boys from Louisiana then got on a roll. And now the good times will just keep on rolling down on the bayou.

Louisiana Defeats Curacao For Improbable, Unbelievable Little League World Series Championship | Sports