Uganda leaves with a 1-2 mark after beating Gresham, Oregon, 3-2 in Tuesday’s consolation game in Williamsport, Pa.
“This was so great,” Lugazi, Uganda manager Henry Odong said. “I’m thankful we could come here. This win was so great.”
The significance of the victory was not lost on outsiders.
“Congratulations to Uganda for their first LLWS victory!” tweeted Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins. “Their story is just beginning!”
The win came as affirmation for Ugandan players Justine Makisimu, Ronald Olaa, Daniel Alio and Felix Enzama, all of whom believed they could win.
Oregon broke open a scoreless game in the top of the fourth inning when Hunter Hemenway tripled down the right field line, scoring Greg Mehlhaff and Tyler Pederson, both of whom had singled.
Lugazi knotted the game at 2-apiece at the bottom of the inning following consecutive singles by Alio and Enzama. The two eventually scored on a wild pitch and a passed ball. Uganda had runners on second and third with no outs, but Mehlhaff struck out two batters before retiring the third to end the inning.
Uganda accounted for the game-winning score in the fifth inning when Olaa singled and Alio walked. Olaa scored the game-clinching run from second when an errant throw to first by Oregon shortstop Brett Falkner sailed wide.
Alio struck out eight and walked two before reaching his pitch count limit with one out in the sixth. Reliever Job Echon surrendered a single, but got Ethan Marshall to ground out to preserve the victory and notch the save.
Uganda is now 1-2 all-time in the LLWS, with plans to further expose its players to international competition by playing more friendship games.