The 2013 Little League World Series has once again lived up to the hype and provided us with some unforgettable moments, but two epic semifinal showdowns prove that the best is yet to come.
With the U.S. championship set to take place on Saturday along with the world championship, we'll finally have our two Little League World Series championship contenders ready to take center stage for Sunday's finale.
Let's break down each of the two semifinal matchups for Saturday.
U.S. Championship (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC): Westport, Conn. (New England) vs. Chula Vista, Calif. (West)
After one of the most thrilling, back-and-forth performances in Little League World Series history, the boys from Westport, Conn. will have to bounce back quickly to get ready for Saturday's U.S. championship.
They'll take on Chula Vista, Calif., the only American team that has made it this far with a perfect record of 3-0.
Chula Vista has outscored opponents 22-6 in their three contests, the most recent of which actually came against Westport on Wednesday night. The California squad advanced to the U.S. final from that 6-3 win.
Meanwhile, Westport had to face Sammamish, Wash. on Friday to earn the ability to play Chula Vista again and simply put, their 14-13 win wasn't easy.
They went down 12-5 by way of a 10-run inning from Washington before completing an epic comeback that ended with a walk-off double by Chad Knight that came with two outs and two strikes.
Westport's short memory and bounce-back ability will be tested on Saturday, as they'll have to quickly move on from the emotional win in order to maintain their momentum against the big favorites of Chula Vista.
It'd be foolish to not give Chula Vista the nod here as they've already proven to be the superior team and have had days of rest. But we learned Friday that Westport doesn't like getting counted out, and they should come to play with their tournament life on the line.
World Championship (12:30 p.m. ET, ABC): Tokyo, Japan vs. Tijuana, Mexico
Tokyo, Japan sits in a similar position as their American counterparts of California. A perfect 3-0 record earned them a spot in the world championship game with days to rest.
Though, it's Tijuana, Mexico who has looked downright unbeatable at times in this tournament. Their series opener against Australia was a 12-0 affair, and just three days later they improved that by notching a 13-0 win over Latin America.
However, Mexico dropped a 5-2 contest to Japan in their third game of the tournament, forcing them to again beat out Latin America to get to the world championship.
A 4-2 win over Latin America on Thursday wasn't nearly as convincing as their prior win, but it got the job done in a must-win game.
Mexico has run into a brick wall after starting out the tournament hotter than any team. After scoring 25 runs in their first two games, they've notched just six runs in their last two contests.
Meanwhile, it's Japan's consistency and the ability to peak after their first two games that stands out in this matchup. And until we see the Mexico squad we saw early on in the tournament, there's no reason to believe that Japan will take it easy on them.
All information, unless otherwise noted, is courtesy of Little League World Series.
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