Little League World Series 2013: Favorites to Win the Championship

Mike Hoag@MikeHoagJrCorrespondent IIAugust 20, 2013

Photo courtesy of Gene J. Puskar/AP.
Photo courtesy of Gene J. Puskar/AP.

Americans watching the 2013 Little League World Series intently should feel comfortable heading into the championship weekend. California has emerged as a legitimate championship contender after two rounds of baseball at the yearly classic.

The Southern California Chula Vista team boasts arguably the best talent in the tournament—Grant Holman. They have also already secured a place in Wednesday’s U.S. semifinal game. Two more wins and they’re off to the World Series Championship against the winner of the International Bracket.

As the field begins to take shape for the weekend championship games, the true contenders have emerged in South Williamsport, Pa.

But are the Americans the favorite to win it all?

 

Favorite: Tijuana, Mexico

Why They’ll Win It All

The Tijuana, Mexico team is hitting an outstanding .533 after two games in Williamsport. They’ve also jacked six homers and scored 25 runs on 24 hits.

As good as they’ve been offensively, Mexico has been just as good at stopping opposing teams. They shutout both of their first two opponents to build a remarkable 25-0 run differential.

 

Why They’ll Lose

It’s hard to see that happening right now. They’ve been perfect at the plate, on the mound and also defensively. The team has posted a perfect fielding percentage by committing no errors heading into Wednesday.

Mexico is surely the team to beat moving forward.

 

Runner-Up: Chula Vista., California

Why They’ll Win It All

California can pitch, too. Through two games, their pitchers have allowed just three hits and one earned run. Holman also made some history by throwing the first extra-inning no-hitter in quite some time, according to ESPN Stats and Information:

The team also has another solid pitcher in Nick Mora. During the team’s win on Sunday, he struck out six in four innings and allowed just one earned run on three hits.

 

Why They’ll Lose

As dominate as Holman has proven to be, the team can’t rely solely on him to pitch every game. It’s just not possible. The team has other options, like Mora, but they will need to be better at the plate to help win a title.

Their 15-run outburst during their last victory is a good sign. However, they’ll be facing some dominant pitching ahead. With 18 strikeouts already through two games and just a .319 collective team batting average, they simply have to be better.

 

Contender: Tokyo, Japan

Why They’ll Win It All

The Tokyo, Japan team does it all. They’re solid defensively, on the mound and in the batter’s box. Their pitchers have allowed just seven hits and two earned runs since arriving in Williamsport. They also boast a .914 fielding percentage and a .367 team average at the plate.

While they don’t seem to be spectacular in any one category, sometimes steady wins the race. In baseball, a solid showing fundamentally in all areas of the game will always put a team in position to win.

 

Why They’ll Lose

Japan may be solid and steady, but they don’t have the explosive potential of Mexico or California. Hoping to contain both of those teams with their style of play is asking a lot in the final rounds.

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