Over the next two weeks, the Little League World Series is a must watch with many young stars you can't miss.
Each year, eight teams from the U.S. and eight teams from around the world descend on the home of Little League Baseball—Williamsport, Pa.
This year, there are three kids who are worth the price of admission...and then some.
The kid I'm looking most forward to watching is U.S. Southwestern pitcher Tyler Vitt of McAllister Park National Little League (San Antonio, Texas). During the regional tournament, Vitt went 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 11.1 innings pitched. Throw in that he only walked one batter, and you see a kid who has control.
Vitt dominated the regional final, pitching six innings and striking out 10. If he can do that on the mound in Williamsport, the U.S. Southwest team could be dangerous. Also consider that they averaged 10 runs a game on offense and ended the tournament with three-straight shutouts.
Another player I'm looking forward to watching is Fairfield American Little League (Conn.) catcher Biagio Paoletta.
Besides having one of the coolest names in the Little League World Series, Paoletta dominated the New England Regional Tournament.
He hit .556 with two home runs and 18 RBI. He also drew seven walks in the tournament, although, he was walked all five times he came to the plate against Vermont in the regional semifinal.
Paoletta is one of the few players that can change the game with one swing of the bat each time he comes up. The last player I remember being this good is Kyle Carter of Columbus (Ga.) in the 2006 Little League World Series.
You can bet that it's only going to take Paoletta one or two swings for other teams to notice him. This is when they'll start pitching around him.
I wonder if teams will pitch around him with the bases loaded. It would give a Bad News Bears feel to the Little League World Series.
The third player that should be exciting to watch is Kearney Little League (Neb.) pitcher/third baseman Thad Huber.
On the mound, Huber went 1-0 in two appearances, including the final three innings in the regional final where Kearney beat Canyon Lake Little League (S.D.).
At the plate, Huber batted .588 with 12 RBI. However, where he does his real damage is on the base paths as he garnered three triples during the tournament.
If he can find an opening in the gap, Huber can find himself on third base very easily, giving his team an excellent chance to at least push one run across the plate.
Now, these are only three players you can't miss. Of course, there are many others. There will also be kids who come out of nowhere to perform heroically on the field.
One thing is for sure...the Little League World Series is one of the purest forms of baseball. For that alone, my eyes will be glued to every pitch possible.
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