Those few teams that remain unscathed thus far in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, face off Wednesday in what has the makings of the best the 2014 Little League World Series has to offer.
Day 6 was no slouch, though, as four teams pack their things and head for homes around the globe after two elimination contests and a consolation game.
That said, it simply cannot hold a torch to Wednesday's double-elimination slate. The schedule takes the best of the tournament as a whole—no money, egos and the like—and combines it with the four teams that have struck a perfect balance between dominance on the mound and explosiveness at the plate.
Let's take a look at the Day 6 results and peek at what Wednesday offers fans.
LLWS Day 6 Scores
|Team 1||Result||Team 2|
LLWS Day 7 Schedule
|Wednesday, Aug. 20||3 p.m.||South Korea vs Japan||ESPN|
|Wednesday, Aug. 20||7 p.m.||Nevada vs Pennsylvania||ESPN|
South Korea vs. Japan
On the international side of the day's events, two squads that seemed destined to meet up when the tournament began do just that.
Japan was easy enough to see coming. The defending champions and winners in three of the last four, Japan usually finds a way to field a crop of names on the mound who simply decimate the opposition.
Which team wins?
Take Takuma Takahashi, for example. Thursday, he willed his side to a 1-0 victory and pitched the full six innings—and struck out 14 batters.
In a true display of balance, Japan then went out and took down Mexico in a 9-5 comeback effort.
South Korea may not get as much credit as their adversary, but as ESPN Stats & Info points out, the country has a strong tradition at the tournament, too:
South Korea defeats Czech Republic in LLWS opener and improves to 7-0 all-time in tournament (won title in 1984-85)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 14, 2014
While that win was impressive—especially due to Jae Yeong Hwang's eight strikeouts in three innings of work—South Korea's 8-5 win over Puerto Rico was made possible by Jun Hyeok Yun stealing home plate to score the go-ahead run.
In other words, Japan touts a wicked amount of consistency, while South Korea counters with a clutch factor not seen very often at this level of competition. It is a championship-quality match before the final game, which means fans better find the time catch it in its entirety.
Nevada vs. Pennsylvania
By now, fans know all about Taney pitcher Mo'ne Davis.
If they don't, she will greet them at any number of newsstands sooner rather than later, as SportsCenter points out:
Davis threw a complete-game shutout Friday against Tennessee and fanned eight batters in the process while surrendering just two hits. Her story is breathtaking, to say the least, as she told Kristen Dahlgren on Today to not "let anyone stop you from doing what you like."
The team around her should get a ton of credit, too. Zion Spearman had some heroics of his own Sunday with an RBI triple with two outs in the sixth inning. He eventually scored the winning run.
On the flip side is a Nevada team that does not come equipped with such a fascinating storyline but is just as talented in every way, if not more. This is especially the case at the plate, as Max Wildstein of Vavel USA points out:
So Mo'Ne Davis is going to pitch against Nevada on Wednesday. Pennsylvania is sending the best story to face the best offense. #LLWS— Max Wildstein ⚾️ (@MaxWildstein) August 18, 2014
Which team wins?
Nevada has played just nine innings in two contests. A 12-2 win over South Dakota took just five innings, as Pierce Jones notched four hits and as many RBI in the lopsided affair. His team needed just four innings a few days later to dispatch of Illinois, 13-2. There, Austin Kryszczuk posted three hits and as many RBI, while Brad Stone knocked in a game-high four RBI.
Something has to give Wednesday. Davis has a chance to grow her legend, but in that same vein, the offensive juggernaut that is Nevada has shown no signs of slowing.
The same classification as the international contest applies here—it is a contest worthy of being the title game itself. Don't miss out.
Note: All statistics and info courtesy of LLBWS.org unless otherwise specified.