Little League World Series 2013 Bracket: Previewing International Championship

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2013

Aug 22, 2013; Williamsport, PA, USA; Mexico player Alexander Artalejo (18) hits an RBI single during the fifth inning against Panama during the Little League World Series at Lamade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

We're still a few days away from crowning the 2013 Little League World Series champions, we'll get to see who can claim the International championship on Saturday.

Japan and Mexico will meet in the finals on that side of the bracket to determine who will meet the United States' champion for all the marbles on Sunday, Aug. 25. 

A full look at the bracket can be found at the tournament's official website.

Both Japan and Mexico have shown plenty of skill at the plate and on the mound to get to this point, but only one can come through as the International champion. Here's a look at the final game in that bracket. 


When: Saturday, Aug. 24 at 12:30 p.m. ET

Where: Howard J. Lamade Stadium, South Williamsport, Pa. 

Watch: ESPN


Japan's Road to the Championship

Having won two out of the last three Little League World Series titles, Japan came into this tournament with high expectations. 

They haven't disappointed thus far. 

The Tokyo squad opened play by defeating the Czech Republic, 7-3, in a game that showcased its ability to pile on runs quickly. Japan scored three runs in each of the first two innings, as Sho Miyao led the way with three hits, a run and an RBI. 

Round No. 2 proved to be a bit more challenging for Japan, as it met a game Taiwan squad that had won its previous matchup against Canada, 10-2. Fortunately for Japan, its strong pitching showed up in a big way. as it escaped with a 3-2 win behind four scoreless innings from starter Kazuki Ishida. 

That led Japan to a third-round matchup against the highly talented Mexican team. Mexico had scored two straight shutout victories with a 13-0 win over Panama and a 12-0 win over Australia. However, Japan foiled Mexico's flawless start. 

Japan broke a 2-2 tie with a three-run burst in the bottom of the fifth to earn its spot in the championship game. 


Mexico's Road to the Championship

Mexico started the tournament as strong as anyone in the field with two blowout victories. Its win over Australia, which was making its first trip to the World Series, was expected. But the 13-0 win over Panama was stunning because Panama had played in the International Championship game last year. 

Mexico then ran into trouble in its first game with Japan in the third round, losing after holding a one-run lead going into the fourth inning. 

Mexico's resilient group of youngsters showed its toughness by defeating Panama again in extra innings. After trailing, 1-0, for the first four innings, Mexico came up with the runs it needed in the top of the fifth to set up extra innings. 

Thanks to a two-run shot by Jorge Romero in the top of the seventh, Mexico booked its rematch with Japan. 


Prediction: Japan 5, Mexico 4

This should be a really fun game to watch as both of these teams have shown a ton of heart to get this far. Don't expect either to relent as it goes down to the wire, but in the end, Japan appears to have all the tools necessary to make it to the championship yet again. 

Mexico will come close again, but it's hard to pick against Ishida and the rest of the Japanese squad.