Little League World Series 2013: Most Dangerous Teams Thus Far
Some kids are just flat-out better than everyone else.
I think that we sometimes forget we are watching 12-year-olds. It is obviously one of the many unique features about the Little League World Series that makes it so undeniably compelling, but it's something we forget.
We forget that, at this point in these kids' lives, they are still growing—both from a physical and talent standpoint.
That makes for immense diversity at Williamsport, and because of that, we are always treated to kids who are simply ahead of the curve. As a result, some truly transcendent individual and team performances take place.
Let's take a look at some of the teams that have quickly established themselves as irrefutable contenders.
The representative from Japan has won the International Championship the last three years and eight times since 2000. It has also won two of the last three World titles, including last year's dominant 12-2 drubbing in the championship.
This year's squad from Tokyo hasn't looked nearly as good, but it has certainly looked capable of making a deep run.
Having Kazuki Ishida will help that.
So far, the youngster has gone 2-for-7 at the plate with a home run, a double, two runs scored and two RBI. He has also pitched five scoreless innings, giving up just three hits while striking out five.
In Tokyo's 7-3 win over Europe & Africa's Brno squad, he was the hero at the plate. In his team's 3-2 victory over an extremely good Chinese Taipei club, he dominated on the mound.
The latter is where he is best, and as long as he continues to take the rubber, this team is going to be a difficult out.
The United States' West squad, represented by Eastlake LL from Chula Vista, California, has gone 2-0 in Williamsport in what you would call an incredibly decisive fashion.
Against the Great Lakes, it won 3-0 thanks to a seven-inning no-hitter from Grant Holman. He walked one and struck out 13.
Against the Mid-Atlantic, it decided to show off the bats, crushing its way to a 15-3 win in four innings. Holman gave way to Nick Mora on the mound, but he still added to his theatrics with a grand slam, while three others also hit home runs.
This team has a star in Holman. It has depth throughout the lineup. And it has the versatility to beat you with either pitching or hitting.
Simply put, it has shown zero weak spots so far.
If Chula Vista has shown zero weak spots, then Mexico's Tijuana squad, which has outscored its opponents 25-0 in Williamsport, has shown negative weak spots.
Moreover, Latin America, the team it just trounced 13-0, went on to beat Canada by a score of 12-0. So that's not exactly a cupcake that Mexico rolled over.
Who will win the World Championship?
The stats are just ridiculous.
In addition to the 25 runs, Mexico has compiled 24 hits, six home runs, five doubles and one triple.
Defensively, it has given up three total hits—just one of the extra-base variety—and struck out 11.
Ramon Mendoza is the standout. He has four hits, two home runs, three runs scored and six RBI. But this team has dangerous hitters throughout the lineup and two pitchers in Luis Manzo and Brandon Meza who have looked like studs.
This team is stacked in every way imaginable and it is undoubtedly the favorite as we approach Wednesday's semifinals.
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