The Little League World Series is one of the most unique and exciting baseball tournaments of the year, and the 2014 edition of the event has the national and international talent to make it one of the best in history.
With intense competition taking place already and still several days of action remaining on the schedule, Wednesday’s slate of games promises to be one of the best thus far.
Here is a full schedule of the remaining matchups and a preview of Wednesday’s action.
|Wednesday, Aug. 20||Time (ET)||TV Info|
|South Korea vs. Japan||3 p.m.||ESPN|
|Nevada vs. Pennsylvania||7:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Thursday, Aug. 21||Time (ET)||TV Info|
|Winner Game 21 vs. Loser Game 23||3 p.m.||ESPN|
|Winner Game 22 vs. Loser Game 24||7:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Saturday, Aug. 23||Time (ET)||TV Info|
|International Final: Winner Game 23 vs. Winner Game 25||12:30 p.m.||ABC|
|U.S. Final: Winner Game 24 vs. Winner Game 26||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|Sunday, Aug. 24||Time (ET)||TV Info|
|Third-Place Game: Loser Game 27 vs. Loser Game 28||10 a.m.||ESPN|
|Championship: Winner Game 27 vs. Winner Game 28||3 p.m.||ABC|
*Live stream for each game available on WatchESPN.
Previewing Wednesday’s Games
South Korea vs. Japan (3 p.m. ET on ESPN)
There are several international teams who could walk out of this tournament with the victory, but it is Team Japan that has the best opportunity to advance to the finals and square off against the United States representative.
The team has a history of winning in this event as well. Japan won three of the last four Little League World Series titles, and in the only year during the stretch that they didn’t win the championship (2011), the international powerhouse finished second.
For those who question the interest in the LLWS, John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal talked about the numbers the top games drew on television:
Big numbers for the Little League World Series. Texas-Penn. had 2.4 million viewers; Mexico-Japan had 1.9M; Penn-Tenn had 1.5M.— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) August 19, 2014
South Korea has a rich tradition of baseball and has dominated its competition en route to Wednesday’s game, but Japan has an ace up its sleeve: pitcher Takuma Takahashi. In Japan’s victory over a tough Venezuela team, Takahashi threw a one-hitter and struck out 14 batters to secure the 1-0 win.
South Korea is not better than the Venezuelans this year, and the resulting matchup between Japan and South Korea could be more lopsided than many fans anticipated. If Japan gets offensive production from players like Suguru Kanamori, the nation will advance in the tournament.
Predicted Winner: Japan 6, South Korea 1
Nevada vs. Pennsylvania (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN)
Nevada has proven to be a very talented team that deserved to make it this far, but the kids from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, are red-hot right now and will be looking to advance to the United States Championship with a win on Wednesday.
The team from Nevada is an offensive powerhouse, scoring 21 runs in the first two games of the tournament, but the hitters from out west have yet to face a pitcher as strong as Pennsylvania star Mo'ne Davis.
Angie Goff of NBC Washington talked about the honor Davis was awarded:
Mo'ne Davis is 1st Little Leaguer ever to be on cover of Sports Illustrated. Some say too much too soon. I disagree pic.twitter.com/8ZQ796yKRi— Angie Goff (@OhMyGOFF) August 20, 2014
Davis has been lights out and became the first girl to earn a win in Little League World Series history. Against a stout Tennessee team many felt could win the whole tournament, Davis allowed only two hits and pitched a complete-game shutout.
Nevada is a much better offensive team than Tennessee, but with a strong cast of offensive players around her and a fundamental game plan, the squad from Pennsylvania has another chance to shock the world and advance to the national final.
Of Wednesday’s two matchups, Nevada vs. Pennsylvania is the game baseball fans can’t miss.
Predicted Winner: Pennsylvania 8, Nevada 6
*Stats via LLBWS.org.