The 2013 Little League World Series has provided a stage for some of the world's best to compete for global glory. With eight international squads and eight from the U.S., the competition is certainly at an all-time high.
After two games, however, one thing has become perfectly clear: Tijuana, Mexico has become the team to beat.
Mexico has been absolutely dominant through the first two games, outscoring opponents by a count of 25-0. With a deep cast of standout pitchers and star hitters, Tijuana has used balance to outclass some of the top teams in this year's tournament.
By outclass, of course, we mean to say the team has absolutely decimated its opponents.
On the opening day of action at the 2013 Little League World Series, Tijuana, Mexico defeated Perth, Australia by a score of 12-0. They shut out a quality team and, more importantly, put on a hitting clinic against a very strong pitching squad.
It was all about balance.
Brandon Meza starred, pitching 3.2 innings of excellent work and striking out eight batters. At the plate, Meza also drove in three runs to anchor the effort by Mexico that set them on their current path.
Is Mexico the team to beat?
He wasn't alone, as Brandon Montes also picked up three RBI and a home run for the Mexican squad. Miguel Artalejo picked up two RBI of his own, while Martin Gonzalez and Axcel Mandujano drove in one each.
Game 2 was equally as impressive.
Luis Manzo pitched four scoreless innings, striking out three en route to a 13-0 victory over Panama. This comes just one game removed from Panama dominating Puerto Rico by a score of 9-4.
From nine runs to none at all.
Ramon Mendoza was the star at the plate, hitting two home runs and driving in six RBI to lead the offensive charge. Gonzalez hit a home run and added two more runs batted in, and Saul Favela hit a homer with two RBI of his own.
In the end, Mexico made quite the statement: Whether hitting or pitching, Mexico has become the class of the event.
On Wed., Aug. 21, Mexico will play the winner of the game between Chinese Taipei and Japan. Those Asian squads are viewed as favorites at the event, which presents the opportunity for Mexico to prove its worth against the most revered teams.
Don't expect Mexico to slow down.
Mexico has pitched well, using superb defense and a wide array of pitches to break down opposing batting lineups. With a crop of hitters who perform at an equally elite level, Mexico has a legitimate opportunity to upset the title favorites.
The only question at this point is if we're labeling the wrong team as the front-runner.
To this point, no one has played as well as Mexico, pairing elite-level pitching with its brilliant hitting. The team is not only putting runners on base but also putting the bat on the ball and pushing it into the outfield for extra-base hits.
Until Mexico is shut down, it's the team to beat at the 2013 Little League World Series.