Little League World Series 2013: Preview and Predictions for Thursday's Action
The 2013 Little League World Series has reached the semifinals stage of both the U.S. and International Championship brackets. With Chula Vista, Calif., and Japan clinching berths in their respective title games, it now comes down to which team will face them in a battle for supremacy.
The question is, who will advance?
Aguadulce, Panama, will represent Latin America against Tijuana, Mexico, during the first of two games. The winner will move on to play Japan and earn the right to fight for both the International Championship and a berth in the Little League World Series final.
In the second matchup, Sammamish, Wash., comes out of the Northwest to take on Westport, Conn., of New England. The winner will face Chula Vista in the U.S. Championship game, also earning the right to compete for a spot in the Little League World Series final.
Here's the information you need to know.
Latin America vs. Mexico
Time: 4 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
In a rematch from Sunday, Aug. 18, Latin America will battle a hot-hitting Mexico side. Unfortunately for Latin America, the last time these two teams met, Mexico won by a lopsided score of 13-0.
After watching Japan figure out Mexico's vaunted lineup, however, Panama may now have an idea as to how to slow its foe down.
Prior to their 5-2 loss to Japan, Mexico had won its previous two games by a margin of 25-0. No one could figure out these talented hitters, and the depth in the lineup was too much for any team to overcome.
Even as Brandon Montes homered for the third consecutive game, Japan was too much for Mexico.
This time around, it's more than likely that Panama will keep it closer than a 13-run deficit. It has won 12-0 and 8-7 since its loss to Mexico, earning victories over Canada and Chinese Taipei in the process.
With that being said, Mexico remains the best international team without "Japan" written across their jerseys. Until it loses two consecutive games, we're inclined to believe that pitching two shutouts and scoring 25 runs of its own in that time makes it the favored squad.
Latin America has a legitimate shot, but any result other than Mexico advancing would be an upset.
New England vs. Northwest
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
In a rematch from their battle Sunday, Aug. 18—stop me if you've heard this before—New England will play Northwest. The last time these two teams met, Westport, Conn., defeated Sammamish, Wash., by a count of 9-7.
Expect this one to be just as close.
Sammamish has responded to its loss by earning back-to-back 6-5 victories over Midwest and Southeast, respectively. In turn, they've earned the right to a rematch against New England with a berth in the U.S. Championship game on the line.
Westport, Conn., was nearly in that game, but it fell 6-3 to Chula Vista, Calif. Don't let the score fool you, though, as New England was in this game until the bitter end.
It took a ninth-inning home run by Grant Holman to send California through to the next round.
In this battle, it will be a matter of momentum, as New England owns a previous victory over Northwest. During that game, however, Sammamish scored six consecutive runs to nearly pull off a comeback win.
Whoever wins will have the chance to join the ranks of Little League legends.
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