The 66th annual Little League World Series began on Thursday, and several of the 16 teams have already had their title hopes dashed in surprising fashion.
The competition is as fierce as it has ever been, and a few squads that rolled through their regional tournaments with relative ease are finding the LLWS tougher than they may have initially expected.
So, as the winner's bracket takes center stage on Sunday, here's a look at the most shocking results from the first three days of action.
Friday, August 17: Canada 13, Mexico 9
Mexico (Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas) rallied back and tied the game after falling behind 8-1 in the second inning, but they never mustered enough firepower to take the lead, eventually losing to Canada (Vancouver, British Columbia) 13-9.
The Mexican squad is one of the better teams on the international side of the tournament, and their 12-0 victory over Middle East-Africa (Lugazi, Uganda) on Saturday is proof of their talent. While the loss to Canada placed them in the losers' bracket, don't be surprised if Mexico makes a run to the LLWS Final Four.
Saturday, August 18: Caribbean 14, Europe 2
For the second time in three days, the European team (Ramstein, Germany) fell victim to the mercy rule as they lost 14-2 on Saturday to the Caribbean (Willemstad, Curacao).
The defeat ended any chance that Europe had to play for the title, and their uncharacteristic play (six errors) was in sharp contrast to their run in the Europe regional tournament (two errors in eight games). Germany allowed only 17 runs in LLWS qualifying, but have given up 28 through two games so far in Williamsport.
Saturday, August 18: New England 12, Midwest 0
Midwest (Kearney, Neb.) pitcher Matt Masker has one of the best arms in the tournament, but he was rocked for three runs in three innings as New England (Fairfield, Conn.) captured a 12-0 victory on Saturday at South Williamsport's Lamade Stadium.
The Kearney, Neb. team never seemed to get into a groove at the LLWS, and are set to face the Europe champion (Ramstein, Germany) in a consolation game on Monday.
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