The Little League World Series usually takes us back to a time when teamwork was really the most important thing, but it's hard not to be impressed by the individual effort of California pitcher Grant Holman on the big stage.
The 6'4", 166-pound 13-year-old is having a week to remember on the diamond. SportsCenter has the details of his epic run through the tournament thus far:
The Chula Vista, Calif., wonderkid started off the LLWS with the best pitching performance that Williamsport has seen in decades. According to ESPN Stats & Info, his extra-innings no-hitter was a historic accomplishment:
Grant Holman is a 6-foot-4,13-year-old on Chula Vista, CA. In LLWS, he has a no-hitter, grand slam & 3-run HR. Quite a run, young fella. .— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 22, 2013
The no-hitter by Grant Holman was 1st extra-inning no-hitter in #LLWS since 1979 (Chinese Tapei vs California)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 16, 2013
Perhaps the most amazing aspect of Holman's tear through the tournament has been the clutch factor of it all. His no-no was made all the more impressive by the fact that opposing pitcher Chad Lorkowski only allowed one hit to the leadoff batter in the first inning before being pulled for going over the 85-pitch limit.
Had Holman not held the other team hitless, his California squad might not have even won its first game.
Holman's grand slam came in the West team's second tournament game with his team already ahead 11-3 in the fourth inning. Even with the comfortable lead, Holman took it upon himself to end the game, as the base-clearing home run allowed California to call it a night thanks to the Little League mercy rule.
But Holman saved his most clutch moment for last. In the team's most recent game against New England representative Westport, Conn., Holman put an end to yet another extra-innings game when he bashed a three-run home run over the center-field wall to give his team the victory and a berth in the United States championship game.
With a direct hand in all three of his team's wins, there's no doubt the young star is the front-runner for tournament MVP.
California will take on the winner of Thursday night's clash between the New England and Northwest teams on Sunday to determine who wins the United States championship and makes it to the Little League World Series final.