Four teams are already eliminated from contention at the 2014 Little League World Series, but those playing on Day 4 have the chance to stay undefeated.
Each of the eight teams—four from the U.S. regionals and four international squads—playing on Sunday won their opening games on the first two days of action. In the double-elimination bracket, none can be eliminated with a single loss, but another win would make them one of four teams to start out 2-0.
Let's take a look at everything you need to know to catch the Day 4 games, and a breakdown of each.
Day 4 Schedule
|Matchup||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream|
|South Korea vs. Puerto Rico||12 p.m.||ESPN2||WatchESPN|
|Nevada vs. Illinois||2 p.m.||ABC||WatchESPN|
|Mexico vs. Japan||5 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Texas vs. Pennsylvania||7 p.m.||ESPN2||WatchESPN|
Note: Schedule information courtesy of the LLWS official site.
Day 4 Games
South Korea vs. Puerto Rico
Two of the strongest offensive units to play in Williamsport thus far will battle in the opening game on Sunday, as South Korea and Puerto Rico face off.
The South Koreans were the only one of the two to play the full game in their openers Thursday. They topped the Czech Republic 10-3 in the opening game of the tournament, while Puerto Rico mercy-ruled Australia in just four innings.
Looking at Saturday's results proves telling for this matchup. After South Korea played the Czechs to a tight game until late, the losers turned around to lose a whopping 10-1 affair to Australia. That's the same Australia that lost by 13 runs to Puerto Rico in just four innings.
That, and they have size on their side, as FanSided shows:
Prediction: Puerto Rico wins, 9-2
Nevada vs. Illinois
Great Lakes regional winners Illinois and West champs Nevada will take to the diamond Sunday, and neither could have entered with more momentum if they tried.
After an emotional run to the regional title, Chicago's Jackie Robinson West squad hung a 12-2 scoreline on Lynnwood, Washington Thursday. Pierce Jones hit three home runs and brought in four RBI in the contest, which was called after five innings.
Nevada's opening game couldn't be played to its entirety, either. They dominated South Dakota by an identical 12-2 final that looked to be over from the opening innings.
Illinois pitcher Joshua Houston had it going from the mound after giving up two early runs on Thursday, and he should come in ready to cool Nevada's bats after finishing strong in his debut. From then on, it's up to Jones and the Jackie Robinson bats to hammer out a win.
Prediction: Illinois wins, 5-1
Mexico vs. Japan
What Sunday game are you most looking forward to?
Both of the early games feature teams that exploded on offense in lopsided wins, but that's far from the case when Mexico and Japan face off.
In an opener against North American rival Canada, the Mexicans pulled out a tight, 4-3 victory. Canada made a late surge in the fifth and threatened the lead but couldn't pull it out.
Meanwhile, Japan needed a magnificent game from pitcher Takuma Takahashi to eke out a 1-0 win over Venezuela. Takahashi threw a one-hitter and struck out a whopping 14 batters in his complete-game shutout.
Mexico is playing solid team baseball, but one untouchable pitcher can be the difference between two similarly talented squads. That looks to be the case on Sunday. If Takahashi gets the call, Mexico will struggle to find any offense.
Prediction: Japan wins, 2-0
Texas vs. Pennsylvania
Mo'Ne Davis and Pennsylvania will look to continue their inspiring story on Sunday against a Texas team that looked to be on a mission in their opener.
Davis has become the story of Williamsport this summer. After the 13-year-old was the star ace on her team's run to the Mid-Atlantic regional title, she turned around to shut down South Nashville, Tennessee—a team making its second straight LLWS appearance—in a two-hit shutout.
The Associated Press' Tim Reynolds made a cross-sport reference to describe her dominance:
Not saying Mo'Ne Davis is really good, but hearing the 76ers are already tanking to get her.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) August 16, 2014
Texas will be coming in regardless with its head held high. In an opening game against Rhode Island, Texas jumped out to a 6-1 lead and held onto it until a late Rhode Island surge, closing the tight affair 6-4.
But Pennsylvania has something Rhode Island doesn't—Mo'Ne Davis. She is wheeling and dealing from the mound right now, and it would be foolish to bet against her. Not to mention, she has been getting all of the run support she needs and more.
Prediction: Pennsylvania wins, 4-1