Wednesday's action in the Little League World Series will be hard to top considering one of the tournament's top teams (Japan) will be in action alongside one of the tournament's most hyped players (Mo'ne Davis).
Both have been among the cream of the crop so far in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The Japanese look like a well-oiled machine, while Davis threw a gem last Friday and became the sixth girl in LLWS history to get a hit with her base knock on Sunday, per ESPN.com.
The two face tough tests on Wednesday, with Japan taking on South Korea and Davis toeing the rubber against an offensive steamroller in Nevada.
|Time (ET)||Team 1||Team 2||TV Info||Prediction|
|3 p.m.||South Korea||Japan||ESPN||Japan, 7-3|
|7:30 p.m.||Nevada||Pennsylvania||ESPN||Nevada, 7-2|
South Korea vs. Japan
Japan entered the Little League World Series as one of the strongest international teams, and so far, the group from Tokyo Kitasuna has looked every bit a championship contender. Japan was tested early against Venezuela and followed that with a 9-5 win over Mexico, which looks more impressive now given Mexico's last two wins.
South Korea has looked very good so far as well, easily handling Czech Republic before knocking off Puerto Rico.
One of the problems with evaluating the South Koreans is that they were hardly tested on the Road to Williamsport. Five of their six wins were shutouts in which they registered double digits in runs scored. And unlike Nevada, South Korea hasn't outclassed the competition in the LLWS.
Japan has won three of the last four Little League World Series titles and finished runner-up in 2011. ESPN's Karl Ravech praised the country when speaking about its LLWS history, per ABCNews.com's Rheana Murray:
They are traditionally, fundamentally superior to every team you will see here. To watch them take the field, there's a very mechanical and systematic approach they take that no one else does. It's like watching a ballet, and it leads to great success. They don't make mistakes very often. Even though 12-year-old kids tend to make a lot, they don’t make many.
Japan is the king until someone knocks it off. It's as simple as that.
Japan 7, South Korea 3
Nevada vs. Pennsylvania
Nevada won its first two games of the Little League World Series by a combined 21 runs. Neither game made it past the fifth inning. In Nevada's six games before the World Series, it went unbeaten with an average margin of victory of 6.5 runs.
Basically, the group from Mountain Ridge is a juggernaut.
Best of luck to Pennsylvania, whose margin of victory of five runs in the LLWS looks paltry in comparison.
Luckily for Taney, it has an ace in Davis. She threw a two-hit shutout in Pennsylvania's 4-0 win over Tennessee.
"I have watched (Davis), yes," said Mountain Ridge manager Ashton Cave, per Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "She is phenomenal, a great player, amazing."
The right-hander is riding a wave of momentum that has seen her become the first Little League player to appear on the national cover of Sports Illustrated, per SI's Richard Deitsch:
For the PM crowd: Mo'Ne Davis is the first Little Leaguer to make Sports Illustrated's national cover: pic.twitter.com/GgKlFsWP2w— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) August 19, 2014
The general axiom is good pitching beats good hitting. But Davis may be in over her head against a Nevada team that's outhit opponents 25-6 in the Little League World Series. There's also the stacked Nevada pitching staff that Pennsylvania's offense will have to navigate.
According to Graney, Austin Kryszczuk is in line to start for Mountain Ridge. In 2.2 innings pitched against South Dakota, he had six strikeouts.
Nevada has looked like one of the strongest teams in Williamsport so far, and that should continue on Wednesday.
Nevada 7, Pennsylvania 2