Another day of action from the 2014 Little League World Series brings with it more elation for the victors and heartbreak for the losers. However, based on what we have seen thus far from Williamsport, all of it will be compelling.
If you go back to the final game on Sunday between Pennsylvania and Texas, four of the six games have been decided by two runs or less, including two elimination games that closed out Monday and were determined by a single run.
Tuesday is a lighter day on the schedule at Williamsport with just three games, including one consolation game between Canada and Tennessee that is for pride since both teams have been eliminated.
|2014 Little League World Series, Day 6|
|Start Time (ET)||Matchup||Network||Live Stream||Pick|
|12 p.m.||Canada vs. Tennessee||ESPN||Watch ESPN||Tennessee 6, Canada 2|
|3 p.m.||Venezuela vs. Mexico||ESPN||Watch ESPN||Venezuela 7, Mexico 4|
|7:30 p.m.||Texas vs. Illinois||ESPN||Watch ESPN||Illinois 5, Texas 4|
Live stream can be found at WatchESPN.com by clicking here.
Day 6 Storylines
The Consolation Cup
Even though the idea of "everyone gets a trophy" in sports misses the point of competition, when you have two teams of athletes aged 11 through 13 playing a consolation game in the Little League World Series, who is going to complain?
Canada and Tennessee, both teams that went 0-2 at Williamsport, get a final sendoff for their efforts in a game that doesn't count in the standings but allows the kids to soak up one more moment on a nationally televised stage.
Tennessee has to be agonizing over its early exit from the Little League World Series. It was up 7-5 against Rhode Island Saturday after scoring five runs in the top of the sixth before CJ Davock hit a walk-off two-run single following an RBI single from Mason Matos earlier in the inning.
The Canadian team went through two extremes at Williamsport. It started by losing a 4-3 heartbreaker against Mexico that included a near-homer for the "other" girl at the Little League World Series, Emma March.
The next day, Venezuela dominated Canada with a 10-0 victory that lasted just five innings due to the mercy rule.
Now, just looking to have one positive moment from the Little League World Series, Canada and Tennessee are going to play a glorified exhibition game.
The World Elimination Game
In the first of Tuesday's two elimination games, Venezuela and Mexico will battle for the right to play the loser of Wednesday's South Korea-Japan matchup.
Whoever wins this game will instantly become the biggest South Korea fans in the world. The Latin American kids took on Japan in the opening game for both teams at the Little League World Series, racking up just one hit and 14 strikeouts against Takuma Takahashi.
Venezuela was able to put that loss aside in a hurry, scoring 10 runs against Canada the next day, which included a grand slam for Ronny Medina in the fifth inning that brought the mercy rule into effect.
On the other side of the diamond, Mexico started off on a high by defeating Canada before getting a rude wake-up call against Japan on Aug. 17 in a 9-5 loss. Mexico was in that game early, matching the Japanese team with five runs through four innings.
Plus, if you need another reason to watch this game, Mexico's Ruy Martinez is doing his best Jose Altuve impression by showing off a big bat in a small package. Martinez is listed at 4'8", and his stature is highlighted in a picture with Puerto Rico's Erick Figueroa, via Bill Speros of ESPN.com:
Martinez had a big day at the plate on Monday against Australia, going 3-for-3 with a mammoth homer to straightaway center field in Mexico's 6-2 victory, keeping the team's title hopes alive.
Illinois' Importance to Baseball
In Tuesday's main event, the Chicago, Illinois, team that has captured the heart of its city fights to stave off elimination for the second straight day against Texas.
Illinois got an 8-7 victory behind Joshua Houston's RBI single in the fifth inning to break open a tie game. The Jackie Robinson West little leaguers are a huge story at Williamsport, even though they will have to dig out of a hole to keep playing.
As the Associated Press noted, via CBS.com, Chicago's presence here goes well beyond just having a team from a major city at the Little League World Series:
The all-black Chicago squad shows there is still interest in the game in urban communities, even though African-Americans accounted for only about 8 percent of major league teams' opening day rosters this year.
Paul Graziano, an LLWS press box announcer since 1980, has never seen this level of excitement so early in the tournament.
That diversity is important for baseball at any level. Hall of Famer Hank Aaron told Bob Nightengale of USA Today in May 2013 that he felt Jackie Robinson would be upset to see the diminishing number of African-American players in baseball:
I think Jackie certainly would be disappointed in the way things are today, especially for African-Americans. Let's face it, baseball was down, and when he came along, he put a big spike into baseball with the way he played, and along came other great black ballplayers.
And to see where it is today, he certainly would be disappointed. You look at baseball. The African American (segment) is not one they're concerned with.
The importance of that group being present can't be discounted. They are bringing more positive attention to baseball and promoting more diversity in the game than we see at the highest level.
If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter: @adamwells1985.
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