Little League World Series 2013: Top Teams to Watch in Sunday's Action
With the first round of games in the 2013 Little League World Series in the books, we've had a chance to see every group of young stars compete on the diamond at Williamsport.
Now the real competition begins.
As the field whittles itself down to the final two teams, the competition is only going to get tougher. Sunday will give us our first taste of that increased competition as all of the second-round winner's bracket games are set be played.
The full bracket with start times for all of Sunday's game can be found at littleleague.org.
Here's a look at the top three teams that appear poised to take the next step towards Little League immortality on a jam-packed day of baseball.
Latin America (Panama)
Game Time: Noon ET, ESPN2
This Panama team came into the tournament as a favorite to advance to the finals largely because it's the same squad that represented Latin America in the 2012 World Series. They made it to the international semifinal to lose to the eventual champion, Japan.
They certainly showed they're ready to make another quality run at the series again this year. They defeated Puerto Rico by five runs to open up international tournament play.
Given the quality pitching that many of the teams in the tournament have, driving in runs against dominant pitchers is an important trait for any little league title challenger.
Panama certainly qualifies after scoring nine runs, despite a 14-strikeout performance from Puerto Rican Braulio Flores. That mettle will be put to the test against a Mexico team that advanced to the second round after routing Australia, 12-0.
Opponent: Mid-Atlantic (Massachusetts)
Game Time: 5 p.m. ET, ESPN
California rode the best individual performance of the tournament thus far to a victory over Great Lakes representative Michigan in the first round. Grant Holman's extra-innings no-hitter isn't likely to be topped the rest of the way.
However, the team will have the opportunity to do bigger and better things when they try to advance to the third round. They will face a Mid-Atlantic squad that showed it has plenty of firepower in a 6-3 win over the Midwest representative in the first round.
Holman won't be able to pitch a gem every time so the West will have to show that it is more than just pitching and defense in this one.
Opponent: Asia-Pacific (Taiwan)
Game Time: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Serving as the night's main event is a battle of old school and new school little league powers that will feature two teams that are each capable of making a run.
Taiwan has more Little League World Series titles than any other nation, but Japan has taken the crown two out of the last three years. Both teams lived up to their traditional reputation in their first games.
Japan cruised to a 7-3 win over the Czech Republic behind a strong performance from Kazuki Ishida, who registered two hits and two RBI. Meanwhile, Taiwan defeated Canada, 10-2 on the strength of three RBI from Huai-Chien Lan.
With both lineups stocked with quality hitters, this game could be a preview of the international final.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?