SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) -- Japan has another Little League World Series title, and this one was so very special for winning pitcher Kyousuke Kobayashi.
Kobayashi and his family were forced to relocate to Tokyo after the 2011 earthquake.
"I was walking around (Tokyo) and I saw them playing baseball," Kobayashi said. "I really wanted to play and decided to join the league."
Kobayashi pitched two innings in relief to pick up the victory, striking out one and walking two. Manager Masumi Omae knew Kobayashi would play a key role on Sunday.
"We had five pitchers ready to go, but I knew that Kobayashi would probably be the last one," Omae said.
It's the role that Omae has groomed Kobayashi for since he joined the team.
"We've really worked with him on pitching and I had confidence in him at the end of the game," Omae said.
WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Chula Vista, Calif., had its fair share of chances to score against Japan in the Little League World Series title game.
The West champs lost 6-4 when Japan staged a late rally and were left to wonder what might have been after stranding 12 runners.
Star pitcher Grant Holman, who had hit a grand slam homer early in the tournament and delivered a decisive three-run shot in the ninth inning to beat Westport, Conn., on Wednesday night, had an RBI single against Japan but could have had so much more.
Batting with nobody out and the bases loaded in the fourth, Holman hit a grounder to third and Japan got the force at home. Holman also struck out with the bases loaded with two outs in the second.
"We left some opportunities out there, but give Japan credit," Chula Vista manager Rick Tibbett said. "They made some great defensive plays."
CHRISTIE'S SPECIAL DAY: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and best-selling author Harlen Coben became the first set of Little League teammates to be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence before Sunday's championship game between Chula Vista, Calif., and Japan.
Both Christie and Coben spoke to the crowd at Lamade Stadium about how their Little League experiences shaped their successes. Both played for Christie's father, Bill, in the Livingston Little League.
SCHOOL DAZE: Not only do the Chula Vista, Calif., players have to deal with the disappointing 6-4 loss to Tokyo, Japan, in the Little League World Series championship game on Sunday, they have to immediately return to school.
School started on July 26 for the West champions, and they attended the first day of classes but haven't returned since. The players had school work through Aug. 9, but in the past 16 days the players have not had to think about school.
MORE BASEBALL: After a parade in Chula Vista, Calif., on Thursday night to honor their accomplishments, it will be back to work for the California team, which lost 6-4 to Japan in the Little League World Series championship game on Sunday.
"They'll all be playing baseball next weekend. They'll be over it," California manager Rick Tibbett said. "All these kids are on different travel teams. It's baseball. There is always a winner and a loser. We were U.S. champions. The kids can certainly hang their hats on that."
After over a week of tension, a group of the players grabbed some pieces of cardboard about 90 minutes after the end of the title game and slid down the hill behind center field at Lamade Stadium.