The first day of the 2014 Little League World Series is officially in the books, and it brought a number of blowouts.
|Team 1||Score||Team 2|
|Czech Republic||3-10||South Korea|
|Mexico (Guadalupe Linda Vista) vs. Canada (South Vancouver)||Friday at 1 p.m. ET||ESPN||Watch ESPN|
|Mid-Atlantic (Taney Youth Baseball Association) vs. (Southeast) South Nashville||Friday at 3 p.m. ET||ESPN||Watch ESPN|
|Latin America (Coquivacoa) vs. Japan (Tokyo Kitasuna)||Friday at 5 p.m. ET||ESPN 2||Watch ESPN|
|Southwest (Pearland East) vs. New England (Cumberland American)||Friday at 8 p.m. ET||ESPN 2||Watch ESPN|
Let’s take a closer look at the results from the first day of action.
South Korea 10, Czech Republic 3
This game was close for a while. Then the fourth inning happened.
South Korea pushed across five runs in the fourth to break a 3-3 tie. Ji Ho Park led the way with a timely three-run homer, and Jae Yeong Hwang tacked on a solo shot just for good measure. It was business as usual for the South Koreans, who moved to an incredible 7-0 in their history at the tournament.
South Korea won the title in 1984-85.
Hae Chan Choi shut the door in the final two innings with four strikeouts in a scoreless relief effort. South Korea only allowed three hits on the day.
Illinois 12, Washington 2
It was the Pierce Jones show Thursday, and Washington just happened to have a first-row seat for the entertainment.
Jones led Illinois to the dominating victory with three home runs, a triple, four RBI and four runs scored. The mercy rule was enacted after five innings.
Along the way, Jones impressed a number of viewers, including Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, Jay Crawford of ESPN and MLB Fan Cave:
And all three Pierce Jones homers were blasts. Last one was eye-high pitch #LittleLeagueWorldSeries— Philip Hersh (@olyphil) August 14, 2014
And the first rock star of the LLWS is born. Pierce jones & the Chicago team van just pulled out of the stadiums to lines of fans & cheers.— Jay Crawford (@jaycrawfordespn) August 14, 2014
Jones had the understatement of the day in a postgame interview, via NBC Chicago: “I think it was just a good game, and I hope I can carry on to the next one.”
It wasn’t just Jones, though, who went to work at the plate, which is encouraging for the team going forward. Illinois scored in every inning and finished with 13 hits, eight of them of the extra-bases variety.
This is an offensive juggernaut that pushed 12 runs across the board in the regional just to get to Williamsport. What’s more, Joshua Houston and Marquis Jackson combined to allow only two hits and strike out nine on the mound.
With this offense and a strong pitching staff, Illinois is a threat to win the entire Little League World Series.
Puerto Rico 16, Australia 3
Things escalated rather quickly for Puerto Rico and Australia in their opening contest.
Puerto Rico wasted absolutely zero time putting this one away with an astounding 13 runs in the first inning alone. Mercifully, this one only lasted four innings in total.
Abimael Torres blasted a grand slam in the first inning to open up a six-run lead. Incredibly, it was Puerto Rico’s first hit of the entire game because Australia’s pitchers simply couldn’t find the plate and continued to walk batters.
Oscar Lopez also contributed to the onslaught with three RBI and a run scored.
It wasn’t just offense that won the day for Puerto Rico. Joel Santos and Janiel Perez combined to allow three runs and seven hits from the mound while striking out six.
Nevada 12, South Dakota 2
The final score suggests otherwise, but Nevada was on the ropes for a time in this game.
South Dakota led 2-1 entering the third inning, but Nevada broke the game open in the third, fourth and fifth frames with multiple rallies. Zachary Hare led the way and scored four times, blasting a solo home run to tie the score in the third. Timely hitting throughout the lineup led to the blowout.
On the mound, Austin Kryszczuk tallied six strikeouts and pitched into the third inning, while Josh Zuehlsdorff closed the door with a flawless 2.1 innings of relief.