The 2013 Little League World Series is reaching a critical stage, as the six remaining teams vie for the right to become champions of their respective brackets. On Wednesday, the first guaranteed berths in both the international and U.S. championship games will be up for grabs.
The question is, how will the action transpire on Wednesday, Aug. 21?
Mexico will play Japan in the first game, with both sides hoping to gain entry into the international championship game. New England will take on the West region in the other clash, hoping to punch its ticket to the U.S. championship.
Two games with extreme repercussions and legendary implications.
Game 23: Mexico vs. Japan
Time: 4:00 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
To open our day off, we have the most highly anticipated game of the entire 2013 Little League World Series. Tijuana, Mexico, will play Tokyo, Japan, with a berth in the international championship game on the line.
There's a large majority of people who hope to see a repeat of this game in the international championship.
Mexico has been absolutely sensational, dominating its two games of action by a score of 25-0. With this in mind, it's a statistical fact that no team has even come close to matching Mexico's precision both at the plate and on the mound.
The question is, can Japan derail the defending champions?
Japan hasn't been as convincing, but has still managed to win both of its games. Japan defeated Brno, Czech Republic, by a score of 7-3 and escaped Chinese Taipei by a count of 3-2.
Now, it will be forced to overcome the most powerful team at this year's event.
The safe bet would be on Japan, no matter how well Mexico has played, as it's the most decorated team remaining and won the title in 2012. With that being said, Tijuana is not just a flash in the pan that's lucked out in two games.
Mexico is as legitimate as any contender could be, and it will prove that in this one.
Mexico 8, Japan 6
Game 24: New England vs. West
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
In our second game of the day, Chula Vista, Calif., will represent the West region against Westport, Conn., of New England. Both teams are undefeated, and each has proved its merit as a contender against quality opponents.
Now, it all comes down to which team punches its ticket to the U.S. championship game.
Westport has been strong, using balance to win its games. That includes a 3-2 victory over Nashville, Tenn., and a 9-7 win against Sammamish, Wash., in which Westport displayed just how strong it is in all areas.
Unfortunately, the kids from Connecticut are about to play a team that's better than strong.
Chula Vista began its Little League World Series campaign with a 3-0 victory over Grosse Pointe, Mich., using an extra-innings, complete-game no-hitter from Grant Holman. During its following outing, Chula Vista won 15-3 against Delaware after Holman blasted a game-winning grand slam.
We're inclined to believe the MVP front-runner will step up again.
Chula Vista is more than just Holman, and it will put that on full display against New England. California will overcome its opponents with a flurry of clutch plays, using everything from dominant pitching to opportunistic hitting.
New England shouldn't be written off, but Chula Vista has been extraordinary.
West 5, New England 2