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LLWS 2014: Full Schedule and Teams to Watch During Little League Showcase

Aug 25, 2013; Williamsport, PA, USA; Japan players celebrate after defeating California (West) 6-4 in the Little League World Series championship game at Lamade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports
R. Cory SmithSenior Writer IAugust 12, 2014

The MLB season is beginning to heat up ahead of the late-season charges, but another form of baseball is set to take center stage. The Little League World Series gets started on Thursday and will be a lengthy tournament.

Myriad young players will take to the diamond with hopes of winning it all in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, hopes will be dashed for all but one team in either the International or United States pools.

Of those teams, Japan comes in as the defending champion despite a new team winning the region. Tokyo Kitasuna won the title in 2012 and returns to reclaim the championship for their country.

As for more local clubs, a couple of underdogs will steal the headlines. Before the tournament gets underway, here's a look at the full schedule and teams to watch in the premier showcase.

Full 2014 Little League World Series Schedule
DateTime (ET)GameMatchupTV InfoLive Stream
Thu., Aug. 141 p.m.1Asia-Pacific vs. Europe-AfricaESPNWatchESPN
Thu., Aug. 143 pm.2Great Lakes vs. NorthwestESPNWatchESPN
Thu., Aug. 145 p.m.3Caribbean vs. AustraliaESPN2WatchESPN
Thu., Aug. 147 p.m.4Midwest vs. WestESPN2WatchESPN
Fri., Aug. 151 p.m.5Mexico vs. CanadaESPNWatchESPN
Fri., Aug. 153 p.m.6Mid-Atlantic vs. SoutheastESPNWatchESPN
Fri., Aug. 155 p.m.7Latin America vs. JapanESPN2WatchESPN
Fri., Aug. 158 p.m.8Southwest vs. New EnglandESPNWatchESPN
Sat., Aug. 1612 p.m.9Game 1 Loser vs. Game 3 LoserESPNWatchESPN
Sat., Aug. 162 p.m.10Game 2 Loser vs. Game 4 LoserABCWatchESPN
Sat., Aug. 165 p.m.11Game 5 Loser vs. Game 7 LoserESPN2WatchESPN
Sat., Aug. 167 p.m.12Game 6 Loser vs. Game 8 LoserESPNWatchESPN
Sun., Aug. 1712 p.m.13Game 1 Winner vs. Game 3 WinnerESPNWatchESPN
Sun., Aug. 172 p.m.14Game 2 Winner vs. Game 4 WinnerABCWatchESPN
Sun., Aug. 175 p.m.15Game 5 Winner vs. Game 7 WinnerESPNWatchESPN
Sun., Aug. 177 p.m.16Game 6 Winner vs. Game 8 WinnerESPN2WatchESPN
Mon., Aug. 1811 a.m.Cons. AGame 9 Loser vs. Game 10 LoserESPN2WatchESPN
Mon., Aug. 181 p.m.17Game 15 Loser vs. Game 9 WinnerESPNWatchESPN
Mon., Aug. 183 p.m.18Game 16 Loser vs. Game 10 WinnerESPNWatchESPN
Mon., Aug. 186 p.m.19Game 13 Loser vs. Game 11 WinnerESPN2WatchESPN
Mon., Aug. 188 p.m.20Game 14 Loser vs. Game 12 WinnerESPN2WatchESPN
Tue., Aug. 1912 p.m.Cons. BGame 11 Loser vs. Game 12 LoserESPNWatchESPN
Tue., Aug. 193 p.m.21Game 17 Winner vs. Game 19 WinnerESPNWatchESPN
Tue., Aug. 197:30 p.m.22Game 18 Winner vs. Game 20 WinnerESPNWatchESPN
Wed., Aug. 203 p.m.23Game 13 Winner vs. Game 15 WinnerESPNWatchESPN
Wed., Aug. 207:30 p.m.24Game 14 Winner vs. Game 16 WinnerESPNWatchESPN
Thu., Aug. 213 p.m.25Game 21 Winner vs. Game 23 LoserESPNWatchESPN
Thu., Aug. 217:30 p.m.26Game 22 Winner vs. Game 24 LoserESPNWatchESPN
Sat., Aug. 2312:30 p.m.27International ChampionshipABCWatchESPN
Sat., Aug. 233:30 p.m.28United States ChampionshipABCWatchESPN
Sun., Aug. 2410 a.m.29Third-Place GameESPNWatchESPN
Sun., Aug. 243 p.m.30World Series ChampionshipABCWatchESPN
LLBWS.org

 

Teams to Watch in 2014 LLWS

Aug 25, 2013; Williamsport, PA, USA; Japan Kyousuke Kobayashi (25) takes a lead off of first base during the third inning against California (West) during the Little League World Series Championship game at Lamade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Hare
USA TODAY Sports

The starting point for any conversation about the Little League World Series has to be Japan.

Tokyo Kitasuna has hoisted the trophy twice since 2001 with a team from the region claiming the title five times in that span. Every squad from Japan comes in playing smart and disciplined baseball, even at a young age.

Patrick W. Wilson, the Director of the Little League International Tournament, spoke about what the LLWS means to Japan teams, per LittleLeague.org:

Teams from Japan have appeared in the Little League Baseball World Series since 1962, and the country of Japan has been represented as its own region beginning in 2009. ... This year, Tokyo Kitasuna Little League will be playing for an opportunity to win its second world title in three years and the third straight for Japan.

Needless to say, Japanese teams are as consistent as they come.

As for another team to watch, a little-known club out of Nevada is making history at the 2014 tournament. Just a year after California won the U.S. Championship, Mountain Ridge took the West Region, becoming the first from the state to do so.

The Little League's official account provides a look at the historic team:

With the representative from the West generally showing promise, the Mountain Ridge team is no different. The team has a solid offense and great chemistry, making for a solid winner heading to the U.S. bracket.

The team's manager, Ashton Cave, spoke about his resilient team, via Ray Brewer of the Las Vegas Sun:

It’s a dream come true. To be the first team ever in history from the state of Nevada, it’s a honor. It’s a great responsibility to represent this state. We are happy for the challenge.

The kids’ confidence is high. It’s great to see the self-esteem of these young men change. They've learned in life that when you put in hard work, a good outcome will come.

Another team with promise and resilience is Jackie Robinson West out of the Great Lakes Region. After a long run through the difficult region, the club became the first all-African-American team to advance to the LLWS.

The standout team was praised by baseball writer Peter Gammons after they clinched a spot:

With plenty of talent on the team, Jackie Robinson West staged a huge comeback just to make the U.S. bracket. If dealt adversity in the tournament, expect the team to surge and surprise any team it's up against.

Even with the international talent, the U.S. has the talent to hold up this year. Regardless which teams make it to the final, the 2014 competition promises to be an entertaining show throughout August.

 

Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.

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