Are you ready for some Little League Baseball?
The 2013 Little League World Series from Williamsport, Penn. is about to commence, and the top youngsters are ready to compete for the international crown.
The Japanese will be looking to repeat as champions, as Japan cruised to victory a year ago over Goodlettsville, Tenn. Kotaro Kiyomiya was the most feared hitter and pitcher in the tournament in 2012. He went eight-for-12 with three homers and six RBI and also struck out 15 batters in 6.2 innings of work.
It will be Musashi Fuchu Little League representing Japan instead of Tokyo Kitasuna this year, but that collection of young stars should still be considered the favorites. The Japanese have won two of the last three Little League World Series crowns, and all of the other teams in Williamsport will be hoping to upend them.
Will Japan win back-to-back Little League World Series title or will another champion emerge in the next two weeks? Here’s a look at everything you need to know about this year’s tournament, including the full schedule for the tournament and notes on every team in contention.
United States Pool Teams
Great Lakes: Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores, Gross Pointe, Michigan
Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores made it to Williamsport despite losing its first and third games of the Great Lakes Regional. Even though the team dropped those two matchups, it responded with its back against the wall. Chad Lorkowski is the star of this team, powering them on the mound and in the batter’s box.
Mid-Atlantic: Newark National LL, Newark, Delaware
Newark’s offense is going to be fun to watch throughout the Little League World Series. The team scored at least 10 runs in three of their six games throughout the Mid-Atlantic Regional. Newark comes to Williamsport having scored an average of nine runs per game. Will the team’s bats stay hot against other top teams?
Midwest: Urbandale LL, Urbandale, Iowa
Urbandale erupted for 15 runs against Kansas in the team’s opening game of the Midwest Regional, but the bats have been somewhat quiet ever since. The team is averaging five runs per game since that victory and is 4-1 in those games. It tends to play close games, with the last two being decided by one run apiece.
New England: Westport LL, Westport, Connecticut
There was no better team than Connecticut throughout the New England Regional. Westport defeated every team in its path en route to a Little League World Series berth. Chad Knight is the player to keep an eye on in Williamsport, as he pitched a gem in the regional final against Rhode Island a few days ago.
Northwest: Eastlake LL, Sammamish, Washington
Eastlake Little League comes to Pennsylvania without ever really being tested throughout the Northwest Regional. The team won all six of its games and only one of them was close—a 5-4 victory over Idaho. Washington blew out Montana in the title game, putting 13 runs on the board while allowing just one.
Southeast: South Nashville LL, Nashville Tennessee
Virginia got the best of Tennessee in South Nashville’s opening matchup in the Southeast Regional. But South Nashville got the best of Virginia the next time around when it counted even more. The team defeated their “rivals” in the title match, 5-3. They will try to top what Goodlettsville accomplished last year in Williamsport.
Southwest: Universal LL, Corpus Christi, Texas
The team from the Southwest is usually one of the best in Williamsport, and this year shouldn’t be any different. Texas enters the Little League World Series after sweeping the Southwest Regional. Three or fewer runs decided all but one of the team’s five victories. This team could certainly make a deep run this year.
West: Eastlake LL, Chula Vista, California
Chula Vista is back in Williamsport for the first time since it won the Little League World Series back in 2009. Just like that year, these kids know how to hit the ball. They scored 65 runs in the West Regional, falling once to Northern California. They got the best of their in-state rivals in the title match, cruising to a 9-0 victory.
International Pool Teams
Asia-Pacific: Chung-Ping LL, Taoyuan, Chinese Taipei
A team from Chinese Taipei should always be considered contenders for the title, as it has won more than any other team in the history of the tournament. The boys from Taoyuan didn’t lose a game in the Asia-Pacific Regional and didn’t have much trouble going undefeated either. It topped Korea 11-2 in the championship game.
Australia: Perth Metro Central LL, Perth, Australia
Australia could be a force to be reckoned with in the next few weeks from Williamsport. Perth Metro Central was flawless throughout the Australia Regional, scoring double digits in four of the seven games it played. It put up 28 runs against Hedland in the regional opener. One word to describe this offense: explosive.
Canada: East Nepean LL, Ottawa, Ontario
Canada doesn’t always have the most success when it comes to the Little League World Series, but East Nepean Little League will hope to turn things around. This is another team that dropped a game in the regional tournament but got revenge in the title game, losing British Columbia but later beating them 5-1 in the title game.
Caribbean: Samaritana LL, San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is going to be a tough out at Williamsport this year. They scored at least 10 runs in four of their six games in the Caribbean Regional. Curacao took them down by a scored of 12-1, but the Puerto Ricans avenged that loss with a 6-4 victory in the championship matchup. In their five wins, they only allowed seven runs.
Europe & Africa: South Moravia LL, Brno, Czech Republic
The kids from the Czech Republic had quite the inconsistent run throughout the Europe and Africa Regional. South Moravia went undefeated, but four wins were by three runs or fewer and the other four were by at least 10. It scored at least 19 runs on three occasions. This team’s offense could turn a lot of heads.
Japan: Musashi Fuchu LL, Tokyo, Japan
Musashi Fuchu made quick work of its opponents throughout the Japan Regional, going undefeated in four games. Japan is usually known for its dominant pitching, but as we saw last year, it can definitely hit as well. Heading into Williamsport, Japan will be deemed the favorites. It’s been too powerful in recent memory.
Latin America: Aguadulce Cabezera LL, Aguadulce, Panama
Aguadulce Cabezera will be making its second consecutive trip to Williamsport. Panama was impressive a year ago, making it all the way to the International Championship Game before failing to get past Japan. Panama lost in the consolation game, and it won’t accept anything less than the championship this time around.
Mexico: Municipal De Tijuana LL, Tijuana, Baja California
Tijuana might have the strongest offense of any team in Williamsport. The team went 5-1 throughout the Mexico Regional and scored at least 10 runs in all of its victories. The team’s pitching staff has been strong for the most part, allowing 3.5 runs per game. This team has what it takes to bring a championship home.
All statistics in this article were obtained via LittleLeague.org unless otherwise noted.