The Little League World Series has been nothing less than a shot of adrenaline to the late-summer sports lull. The two days of games so far have provided excitement, drama and intrigue rarely seen at this event, so you can only imagine what Day 3 at Williamsport has in store for fans.
Saturday is the first set of games in the losers' bracket, so the drama will be ratcheted up a few notches because four teams will be eliminated by the end of the day. Of course, that also makes it harder to watch because cameras aren't afraid to sit on kids getting emotional after games.
In anticipation of the action from Williamsport, here is a look at all the matchups, live stream schedule, predictions and storylines to watch on Saturday.
|2014 Little League World Series Schedule - Day 3|
|Start Time (ET)||Matchup||Network||Live Stream||Picks|
|12 p.m.||Australia vs. Czech Republic||ESPN||Watch ESPN||Czech Republic 4, Australia 2|
|2 p.m.||Washington vs. South Dakota||ABC||Watch ABC||Washington 6, South Dakota 1|
|5 p.m.||Canada vs. Venezuela||ESPN2||Watch ESPN||Canada 5, Venezuela 4|
|7 p.m.||Tennessee vs. Rhode Island||ESPN||Watch ESPN||Rhode Island 6, Tennessee 3|
Day 3 Storylines
One of the advantages to winning your first game at the Little League World Series is getting an extra day of rest. For the eight teams that lost, they have a quick turnaround to keep their title hopes alive.
In the case of Canada, Tennessee, Venezuela and Rhode Island, they are playing on back-to-back days. Tennessee was in the news on Friday for reasons it didn't want, suffering a two-hit shutout at the hands of Pennsylvania star Mo'ne Davis.
However, Tennessee didn't look nearly as bad in the box against Pennsylvania as Venezuela did against Japan. The Latin American representative endured a one-hit shutout and struck out 14 times against Takuma Takahashi.
The good news for both teams is that they don't have any time to dwell on those performances. Baseball is a game that can eat you alive the more time you spend thinking about it, so getting back on the field is the best thing they could ask for.
Emma March's Spotlight
Lost in all the hype around Davis is Emma March being a key player on Canada's march to the Little League World Series. ESPN Stats & Info noted on Twitter that this is just the third time in 75 years that two girls have played in this event at the same time:
She didn't have the same stellar debut at Williamsport as the American star, but it wasn't for lack of trying.
March nearly hit a home run in the fourth inning of Canada's 4-3 loss against Mexico but the ball went foul at the last moment. She had another opportunity with the bases loaded in the fifth before striking out on a borderline call, at best.
You can tell how much the Canadian coaches think of March as a hitter. She was inserted in the cleanup spot on Friday and should be back in that spot again on Saturday based on what we saw in the team's loss.
All eyes will be focused on March, not that there needs to be further pressure placed on the 12-year-old's shoulders.
As touched on previously, the umpiring so far in the Little League World Series has left a lot to be desired. These are volunteers who have taken on a thankless task, but at some point you still need some accountability.
March didn't see one legitimate strike in her fifth inning at-bat, yet somehow was called out on strikes by the home plate umpire. You know things are bad when a Major League Baseball player is posting on Twitter about how poor the umpiring has been:
It's important to remember that these aren't professionally trained umpires, so there are going to be some unusual calls along the way. The strike zone has always been a little wider in little league than normal, but if you are getting called out on social media, something is wrong.
The best we can hope for is that there is no controversy on Saturday and the players decide the outcome on the field.
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