Four teams have clinched spots in the winner’s bracket, while four other teams are just one game from being eliminated from the 2013 Little League World Series, which got underway in Williamsport, Pa. on Thursday afternoon.
Four more teams will clinch spots in the winner’s bracket—and four more in the loser’s bracket—in Friday’s slate of action, which is bound to be just as exciting as the opening day of the international tournament. While we don’t know the outcomes yet, winning on Friday is essential.
Losing the first game in Williamsport greatly hinders a team’s chances of eventually winning the World Series. It’s possible for a team to come out of the tournament with a loss on its resume, but playing with your back up against the wall each game isn’t easy to do—especially for the 11-, 12- and 13-year-olds competing.
That being said, you need to watch each of Friday’s games to see which teams’ chances of winning the Little League World Series will improve and which teams’ chances will worsen. Here’s a preview of each of the games scheduled for Day 2, as the first round continues and concludes on Friday.
Game 5: Asia-Pacific vs. Canada
Game Info: Volunteer Stadium at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN
Asia-Pacific and Canada will kick off the second day of action from Williamsport in what should be a high-scoring affair. Each team did a great job at plating bunches of runs throughout its respective regional tournament, and each squad's pitching staff has been strong more often than not.
Chinese Taipei didn’t drop a game throughout the Asia-Pacific Regional and won several games by large margins. The team won four of its six games by nine runs or more, which is impressive, to say the least. In the six regional games, the pitching staff only allowed opponents to score nine runs.
East Nepean won its opener by nine runs but fell to British Columbia in the second game of the Canada Regional. It didn't lose another game throughout the tournament, though, and it took down British Columbia when it got another shot, which just so happened to be in the regional championship.
Game 6: West vs. Great Lakes
Game Info: Lamade Stadium at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN
For the first time since 2009, Chula Vista is back in Williamsport. For those who don’t remember that year, the youngsters from California played extremely well throughout the tournament and defeated Asia-Pacific in the World Series. Can Chula Vista win another title this time around?
The West Region champions were great throughout their most recent tournament, winning five of the six games they played. Chula Vista lost by a run to Northern California but got its revenge in the regional final, winning 9-0. The team outscored opponents 21-0 in the last two games of the tournament.
Michigan is in Williamsport despite losing a pair of games in the Great Lakes Regional tournament. The team lost two of its first three games by just one run but won its final three to clinch a berth in the Little League World Series. Michigan took down Illinois in the regional final by a score of 10-3.
Game 7: Japan vs. Europe-Africa
Game Info: Volunteer Stadium at 5 p.m. on ESPN2
The winners of two of the last three Little League World Series titles will take the field as the sun starts to set on Friday in the third game of the day. Japan has been outstanding the last few years, making it to the championship game three straight times. Will the squad make it four in a row this year?
Japan didn’t have much trouble getting to Williamsport this year, as Musashi Fuchu won all four of its matchups in the regional tournament. The team allowed 13 runs through its four games but scored 36 times. This offense is bound to be one of the better ones throughout the international competition.
Can the kids from the Czech Republic slow Japan down, though? The offense and defense for the Europe and Africa Regional champions haven’t been consistent. They scored more than 10 times on four occasions and allowed at least seven runs twice. Three or fewer runs determined four of the team’s games.
Game 8: Mid-Atlantic vs. Midwest
Game Info: Lamade Stadium at 7 p.m. on ESPN
The Friday finale will feature two teams that each lost a game in their respective regional tournaments but had what it took to get to Williamsport. This should be one of the closer games of the first round of action, even though the Mid-Atlantic champions have done a great job at plating runs thus far.
Delaware took down Washington D.C. in its opener but then fell to Maryland. The team went on to win its next four games, scoring at least 10 runs in three of them. In Delaware’s final three games of the Mid-Atlantic Regional, the pitching staff only allowed six runs. In the tournament, the offense averaged nine runs per game.
Iowa enters Williamsport after playing a number of tight games. After winning 17-5 in the Midwest Regional opener against Kansas, the team allowed 2.8 runs per game while scoring 4.6 per game. Four runs or fewer determined the final four games for the team. Iowa won its last two by one run apiece.
All statistics in this article were obtained via LittleLeague.org unless otherwise noted.