Even in loss, Chicago celebrates Little Leaguers

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Little League World Series Champs - South Korea - August 24, 2014
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Even in loss, Chicago celebrates Little Leaguers
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, PA - AUGUST 24: Members of Team Asia-Pacific (L) pose following their 8-4 win over the Great Lakes Team from Chicago, Illinois to win the Little League World Series Championship game at Lamade Stadium on August 24, 2014 in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
South Korea players hold their coach after winning the championship baseball game against Chicago at the Little League World Series, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in South Williamsport, Pa. South Korea won 8-4. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
South Korea's Hae Chan Choi, left, celebrates with catcher Sang Hoon Han, center, and Shane Jaemin Kim (17) after getting the final out of a 8-4 win in the Little League World Series championship baseball game against Chicago in South Williamsport, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
South Korea's Hae Chan Choi celebrates after getting Chicago's Ed Howard to ground out for the final out of the Little League World Series championship baseball game in South Williamsport, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. South Korea won 8-4. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
South Korea's Hae Chan Choi, top center, celebrates teammates after getting the final out of a 8-4 win in the Little League World Series championship baseball game against Chicago in South Williamsport, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
South Korea's Hae Chan Choi (21) celebrates with teammates after hitting a two-run home run off Chicago's Brandon Green in the sixth inning of the Little League World Series championship baseball game in South Williamsport, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
South Korea's Hae Chan Choi (21) celebrates with teammates after hitting a two-run home run off Chicago's Brandon Green in the sixth inning of the Little League World Series championship baseball game in South Williamsport, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
In this photo taken with a fisheye lens fans of South Korea cheer and dance before the Little League World Series championship baseball game between the South Korea and the Chicago in South Williamsport, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
South Korea players celebrate after winning the championship baseball game against Chicago at the Little League World Series, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in South Williamsport, Pa. South Korea won 8-4. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
South Korea's Hae Chan Choi, center, celebrates with teammates after getting the final out of a 8-4 win in the Little League World Series championship baseball game against Chicago in South Williamsport, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
South Korea's Hae Chan Choi (21) celebrates with teammates after hitting a two-run home run off Chicago's Brandon Green in the sixth inning of the Little League World Series championship baseball game in South Williamsport, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
South Korea's Dong Wan Sin watches his solo home run off Chicago's Brandon Green in the fifth inning of the Little League World Series championship baseball game in South Williamsport, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
South Korea's Jae Yeong Hwang, left, is tagged out attempting to steal third by Chicago Cubs' Cameron Bufford in the first inning of the Little League World Series Championship baseball game in South Williamsport, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, PA - AUGUST 24: Gyu Heon Kwon #12 of Team Asia-Pacific hits an RBI single in the third inning against the Great Lakes Team from Chicago, Illinois during the Little League World Series Championship game at Lamade Stadium on August 24, 2014 in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, PA - AUGUST 24: A general view before the start of the Little League World Series Championship game between the Great Lakes Team from Chicago, Illinois and Team Asia-Pacific at Lamade Stadium on August 24, 2014 in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, PA - AUGUST 24: Members of Team Asia-Pacific (L) celebrate following their 8-4 win over the Great Lakes Team from Chicago, Illinois to win the Little League World Series Championship game at Lamade Stadium on August 24, 2014 in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, PA - AUGUST 24: Brandon Green #14 of the Great Lakes Team from Chicago, Illinois reacts after striking out for the second out of the sixth inning as catcher Sang Hoon Han #5 of Team Asia-Pacific hold up the ball during the Little League World Series Championship game at Lamade Stadium on August 24, 2014 in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Team Asia-Pacific won 8-4. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Members of the Chicago team look out of the dugout in the sixth inning of the Little League World Series championship baseball game against South Korea in South Williamsport, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. South Korea won 8-4. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
The Chicago team lines up to shake hands after an 8-4 loss to South Korea in the Little League World Series championship baseball game in South Williamsport, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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By MICHAEL TARM

CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago cheered on the hottest sports team in town on Sunday and, for the day at least, it wasn't a team called the Bears, White Sox, Cubs, Bulls or Blackhawks.

The buzz in the nation's third-largest city was for a group of 11- and 12-year-old boys from Chicago's South Side who took on South Korea in the Little League World Series championship game.

And it didn't matter all that much to supporters that the Jackie Robinson West All Stars ended up losing 8-4.

Far from falling quiet with the final out, several hundred supporters who gathered for a TV watch party in a South Side community center gym jumped to their feet, roared and clapped - as if the team had won.

"They showed what heart they have. The city could not be prouder of them," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who attended the party, said of the young players who sought to mount a comeback rally in the last inning.

Watch parties were held across Chicago to support the team, which is based on the city's far South Side, including one on State Street outside the iconic Chicago Theatre.

Neighborhoods from in and around Chicago embraced the Little Leaguers, who defeated a Las Vegas team 7-5 Saturday to become U.S. champions, as their own.

"I have never seen the community come together like this," said Eldridge Dockery, 44, who lives in the South Side's Morgan Park neighborhood. "We're usually behind our walls or gates - but this team brought us out, talking and celebrating together."

The Jackie Robinson West All Stars, made up of all black players, made their first appearance in 31 years in the Little League World Series. The team's journey has been an inspiration for many in a part of Chicago that has grappled with poverty and gang violence.

Asked about the good feeling that infused the area as the Little Leaguers went on to the international championship game, Dockery said, "I hope it lasts."

The sense of unity fostered by the team even applied, in part, to political rivals.

Both Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican gubernatorial challenger Bruce Rauner showed up at the community center gym to watch the Jackie Robinson West All Stars.

"It's all about bringing the city together," Rauner told a reporter.

Rauner sat in a front row, bobbing his head at one point as a green alligator mascot led the crowd in a chant to thumping music. At separate times during breaks in the action, both he and Quinn - who are locked in a tight race - got up and danced.

Emanuel, who is a Democrat, stood with his arms folded at the same event, rocking in apparent nervousness as the game went on. After the loss, he said a celebratory parade would be held anyway on Wednesday for the Little League team.

South Korea Wins LLWS Championship

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