The final spot on the United States side of the bracket for the 2014 Little League World Series will get filled Sunday night. The Mid-Atlantic regional final completes the qualification process and will feature teams from Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Pennsylvania, which is represented by the Taney Youth Baseball Association, edged New York (Colonie Little League) in the semifinals. Delaware, which features a team from Newark National, was able to pull off an upset over the highly touted group from Toms River, New Jersey.
Let's check out all of the key information for the contest followed by a preview and prediction.
Where: Breen Field in Bristol, Connecticut
When: Sunday, Aug. 10 at 6 p.m. ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Pennsylvania was very impressive during the preliminary round. It scored 29 runs across four games with a record of 3-1. The only loss came against New York, and Pennsylvania was able to avenge that defeat in a hard-fought 6-5 win in the semifinals.
Delaware almost missed out on the knockout stages. It finished 2-2 as the fourth seed, only one game ahead of Maryland. The squad looked far more dangerous against the New Jersey team, which went undefeated in group play.
Toms River had a chance to pull off a late comeback, but Newark National held on for the 4-3 win to reach the regional final.
As the Little League Insider blog points out, the organization is attempting to make its second straight trip to Williamsport:
Tough loss for New Jersey. Delaware looking to get to back-to-back #LLWS— LittleLeagueWS (@LLWSallthetime) August 8, 2014
It would mark the first time teams from the same state made the Little League World Series out of the Mid-Atlantic since Maryland in 2007-08. It would also be the first time under the current format, which started in 2001, that the same Little League group qualified twice in a row out of the region.
Which team will advance to the Little League World Series?
The teams previously met in the preliminary stage. The result was a 8-4 win for Pennsylvania, which raced out to an 8-1 lead before giving up three runs in the sixth.
As the Taney squad showed against New York, past results don't guarantee future outcomes. That's especially true in a short-tournament format like the regionals.
Delaware should also be riding a wave of momentum after knocking out Toms River. It was a strong performance after some up-and-down play up to that point.
That said, it's hard to go against Pennsylvania given how well it has been hitting the ball. The regional finals have been a high-scoring affair every step of the way, and there's no reason to believe that won't continue in the championship game.
While it should be a tighter contest than the first meeting between the teams, the slight edge goes to the higher seed.
Prediction: Pennsylvania 6, Delaware 4