Little League World Series 2013: Predicting Final Rounds of This Year's Classic
It’s still anyone’s game at the 2013 Little League World Series, but there are a couple of teams that have stood out from the rest heading into the final rounds of action in South Williamsport, Pa.
Standing out early isn’t the key to winning it all, though. A squad can get hot after losing an early game and make a run at the championship. After all, all of these teams are champions of their individual regions or nations.
While one-loss teams still have life left, Connecticut, Tijuana, Tokyo and California are all in perfect position to secure yet another little league crown. Wednesday’s showdown between these unbeaten teams could very well be a preview of things to come this weekend.
Can they earn a few more wins to etch their names in the record books? Or will a contender emerge from the loser's bracket to steal the show?
California 5, New England 2
The Chula Vista, Calif., team has boasted some of the most impressive pitching during the LLWS. Grant Holman threw a no-hitter and struck out 13 in the team’s first game, and they have allowed just one earned run and three hits through two contests.
Connecticut has been performing well at the plate, though, hitting .408 and plating 12 runs in two games to this point. Playing to that potential will certainly be a struggle against the excellent pitching and stingy defense of California.
Connecticut is no slouch on the mound, either. Not counting a rocky relief appearance by Charlie Roof—who allowed four hits and five runs in two-thirds of an inning—its pitching has allowed just four runs and 11 hits.
In the end, expect California’s bats to continue to shine after they plated 13 runs in the last game.
Mexico 3, Japan 1 (F/8 Innings)
What happens when an explosive offense meets a nearly flawless pitching staff? Free baseball, that’s what happens.
The Tijuana, Mexico, team has notched two early wins by a combined score of 25-0. Their task couldn’t be greater going up against the Tokyo pitchers, though.
Through two games, Japanese pitchers have struck out 15 batters and surrendered just two earned runs. But Mexico didn’t post two shutouts without a competent staff of their own. Luis Manzo and Brandon Meza have allowed just three hits during 7.2 innings of work.
Expect a close game anchored by solid pitching. However, Mexico’s bats will win it in the eighth inning on a two-run homer to send Mexico undefeated into the championship round.
Who will in the 2013 LLWS?
Anything can happen before Saturday’s International and U.S. championship games. If Japan and Connecticut lose as predicted, they could very well overcome whichever team they meet Thursday in order to force a rematch with the teams that previously beat them Wednesday.
In all likelihood, that’s exactly what will go down.
After getting a look at the teams earlier in the week, Tokyo and Connecticut will make things close in their rematches. Tokyo, though, will be the team that gets revenge by overcoming Mexico to win the International Bracket and earn a berth in the World Series Championship Game.
World Series Championship Predictions
California 5, Japan 2
It’s going to take everything the eight-time champions have in them to win Thursday and again Saturday. Meanwhile, California will be resting and saving standout 6’4” ace Holman for Sunday’s title game.
Things will be close early, but California’s bats will come to life late. Look for the young phenom to give a performance to remember on the mound to lead California to the state’s eighth LLWS crown.
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