Little League team from South Korea gets big welcome at home, wants to keep playing together


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SEOUL, South Korea — The captain of the South Korean team that won the Little League World Series wants to keep winning baseball championships with his friends when they grow up.

After receiving a big welcome on their return, Jae Yeong Hwang said Tuesday he would like to reunite with his teammates as adults and win the World Baseball Classic.

"My heart was full. I was happy because I achieved this with my friends," Hwang said. "I want to win at a big ... a much bigger competition like the WBC (with my teammates)."

More than 200 people gathered at Incheon International Airport, holding welcoming placards and handing over flower bouquets to the boys. Many were teammates from domestic teams, who wore baseball uniforms and shouted to their proud teammates.

The South Korean boys, wearing blue shirts and baseball caps, appeared with a big national flag before making Usain Bolt's trademark victory gesture, the same pose they made after Sunday's victory.

The South Koreans, the Asia-Pacific Region champions, beat Chicago 8-4 on Sunday. It was the first South Korean championship since back-to-back wins in 1984 and 1985.

The latest win came as a surprise in South Korea as local baseball and other amateur teams don't get much public and media attention. The professional baseball league is still considered to be the country's most popular sports competition.

No other major welcoming ceremonies were scheduled except for a dinner among players, their parents and baseball officials in coming days, according to baseball officials in Seoul.

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