Who knew 11 to 13-year-olds were so merciless?
In the 2012 Little League World Series, the contenders have begun to distance themselves from the pretenders. You can tell the category a team falls into by which side of the double-digit blow out it’s on, and there’s been plenty thus far.
Here’s a preview of Day 5’s action.
Consolation Game: Europe vs. Midwest at 12:00 p.m. EDT
Germany and Nebraska will play for pride on Monday. Each team struggled mightily in the early rounds and will both go home after their consolation contest.
Europe has been outscored 28-3 after facing off against Asia-Pacific and Caribbean. Midwest didn’t fare much better vs. South East and New England. It got outscored 24-1.
Something has to give, right?
Prediction: Midwest by 1
Game 17: Caribbean vs. Canada at 2:00 p.m. EDT
Caribbean scored 47 runs in its four games previous to getting shut out by the Japanese, so expect Curacao to continue its scoring trend coming off its latest victory.
Prediction: Caribbean by 2
Game 18: Mid-Atlantic vs. West at 4:00 p.m. EDT
New Jersey lost to the Southwest and defeated the Northwest to get to this point. Northern California of the West—the defending champions—started strong vs. New England, but suffered a letdown to Southeast.
While the Mid-Atlantic is solid, the West is on another level as a region. Even with its depth, Northern California went undefeated in their LLWS regional. Expect it to rebound.
Prediction: West by 2
Game 19: Mexico vs. Asia-Pacific at 6:00 p.m. EDT
Mexico shut out MEA 12-0 and lost a shootout with Canada to reach this point. Chinese Taipei destroyed Europe 14-1 and lost to Japan in extra innings via walk-off home run.
Asia-Pacific is probably the more talented team. However, given that it just lost a long ballgame and will be forced to compete in back-to-back days, it’ll be difficult for the club to bounce back with minimal recovery time.
Prediction: Mexico by 1
Game 20: New England vs. Great Lakes at 8:00 p.m. EDT
Connecticut lost a 6-4 heartbreaker to West its first game, but followed the loss up by taking its anger out on the Midwest in a 12-0 beatdown. Indiana of the Great Lakes shut out Northwest 4-0 only to get sent back down to earth against Southwest 13-3.
Connecticut’s history in the LLWS has been much richer than Indiana’s. Its resume up to this point in the tournament has also been more impressive.
Prediction: New England by 3
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.