The Little League World Series might only be in the spotlight for a short period of time, but there are some young players really turning heads in Williamsport, Pa.
With each game being important in the double-elimination tournament, a few key players have come through to help their teams in a big way. As the event continues, the squads will look toward these stars to keep up their high levels of play.
Based on what we have seen so far, you can expect plenty of more success from these competitors in the remaining games.
Layne Roblyer, Southwest
Pearland East has showcased a lot of depth throughout its run this summer, with almost everyone on the roster contributing in a big way. However, Layne Roblyer has stepped up to become a leader over the last few games.
With the season on the line in the elimination game against Lynnwood, Wash., Roblyer came through with a big three-run home run. David Krueger of The Everett Herald points out that this was not his first big hit of the tournament:
Pearland's Layne Roblyer with a three-run home run, his second homer in as many days, to give Texas 4-0 lead over Pacific in the 3rd inning.— David Krueger (@Krueger_David) August 18, 2014
According to Tom Robinson of the Houston Chronicle, Roblyer's older brother, Jared, hit three home runs in the 2010 Little League World Series, so it is clear that power runs in the family.
The team still needs to keep winning to remain alive in the tournament after losing to the Mid-Atlantic representatives, but Roblyer will do all he can to avoid going home early.
Austin Kryszczuk, West
The best offense through the first few days of the tournament has been Mountain Ridge out of Las Vegas. The squad has scored 25 runs in the first two games, earning a mercy-rule win in each.
Leading the way has been Austin Kryszczuk, who has six hits in those two contests. The young player hit two home runs in the team's most recent win. This has gained the attention of Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper:
Austin Kryszczuk you rake..I see ya!! #LLWS— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) August 17, 2014
ESPN's Stuart Scott jokes that Kryszczuk can lead the team to great heights:
#LLWS team from Vegas could contend for MLB wildcard. They field & they rake hard. Austin Kryszczuk looks/swings/hits like a big leaguer.— Stuart Scott (@StuartScott) August 17, 2014
While an MLB appearance is not likely, this group can win the Little League World Series title. Mountain Ridge is just two wins away from a U.S. championship, and this red-hot offense does not appear to be slowing down any time soon.
As long as Kryszczuk keeps hitting, this team will keep winning.
Mo'Ne Davis, Mid-Atlantic
There is no question that the biggest star in Williamsport has been Mo'Ne Davis. The female pitcher threw a complete-game shutout in her first appearance with eight strikeouts before contributing with an RBI in her second game.
Along the way, she has impressed almost everyone watching along, even those not involved in baseball:
This youngster is striking everybody out and she is a girl. I love it. #itsanewday— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) August 15, 2014
Davis throws a 70 mph fastball and a nasty curveball, keeping opposing hitters off balance while also displaying great control. More important than her arsenal, however, is her ability to stay focused on the mound despite dealing with tons of distractions.
"She's amazing," manager Alex Rice said to Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer, "All of these kids are amazing. I can't fathom going out in front of however many people we had tonight, even though they were pro Mid-Atlantic. She's unflappable."
Her composure has helped her post good numbers while the pressure grows in each game. With her team on the brink of a LLWS title, you can expect more good things from the talented player.
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