The 2013 Little League World Series has hit its most critical stage so far, as four teams are competing for berths in the United States Championship Game and International Championship Game, respectively. While each team has a star, certain players stand out among the rest.
Some have thrived at the mound, dominating the opposition with their ability to pitch. Despite pitching in an offense-heavy tournament, they've managed to shut down the opposition.
At the plate, a new star seems to be born with each passing game. However, there's something to be said about the value of consistency.
Here are the players you should be watching during Wednesday's action.
Grant Holman, West (Chula Vista, Calif.)
Chula Vista, Calif. has represented the West Region as well as anyone could have asked, winning its first two games by a combined score of 18-3. That includes a 3-0 win over Great Lakes in extra innings and a 15-3 win over Mid-Atlantic.
The common theme in both games was Grant Holman's brilliance.
Holman began the Little League World Series with a complete-game no-hitter against Great Lakes, striking out 13 batters. In the process, he became the first pitcher since the pitch count was instated to throw an extra-innings no-hitter.
Just when you thought he couldn't get any better, Holman turned it up a notch.
During California's 15-3 win over Mid-Atlantic, Holman hit the game-winning home run to force the 10-run rule. It wasn't just a home run, though. That wouldn't have been enough for a player who had already made history.
Holman hit a walk-off grand slam.
Brandon Montes, Mexico (Tijuana, Baja California)
Mexico has been the most dominant team in the 2013 Little League World Series. It has a 2-0 record and has outscored its opponents by a combined score of 25-0. It has outpitched its opponents, destroyed opposing pitching staffs with its bats and played excellent defense.
That makes it difficult to pick one player to watch. But if we have to choose, that player is Brandon Montes.
Brandon Meza and Ramon Mendoza have put on spectacular performances at the Little League World Series so far and have come up with invaluable contributions at opportune moments. Meza dominated at the plate and on the mound in Game 1, and Mendoza hit a home run with six RBI against Panama.
The one constant in those games, however, was Montes.
Montes hit a home run in both of Mexico's games, which makes him the player to watch. This is a team that can strike at any moment, and Montes is serving as a catalyst of sorts with his ability to hit the deep ball.
Going up against Japan, Mexico will need him to step up and do it all over again.
Japan has produced eight Little League World Series champions, including the 2012 crew. For Mexico to overcome its decorated opponent, it will need its bats to be on point, and that's exactly where Montes comes in.
Japan has been superb with the use of its pitching staff, and Montes is the type of power hitter who can break a game open. So far, he's 2-for-2 in doing that.
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