Little League World Series 2014: Breaking Down Championship Game Matchup

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Little League World Series 2014: Breaking Down Championship Game Matchup
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The world championship game at the Little League World Series is going to get major play in Chicago households. 

On Saturday, Jackie Robinson West from the south side of the city knocked off the previously undefeated Mountain Ridge squad from Las Vegas, 7-5. The win avenged a previous loss to the team and punched JRW's ticket into the world title game.

The Chicagoans will face a tough and undefeated South Korean team that throttled Japan, 12-3. The South Koreans have looked almost invincible this year and in past appearances at the LLWS.

Can JRW pull another upset and cap off its magical run in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with a win? It all takes place on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET. 

Here are the keys to victory for both teams.

 

Jackie Robinson West

Be Selective at the Plate

Matt Slocum/Associated Press

When JRW is at its best offensively, the players take pitches and draw walks. When the hitters are anxious, they tend to chase fastballs low and away. Against the harder throwers in the Little League World Series, that leads to a ton of strikeouts.

Facing the likes of Jae Yeong Hwang, South Korea's ace and all-around star, JRW can't afford to help him out by swinging at bad pitches.

If the team is to have a chance to beat South Korea, it will have to work the counts and take bases on balls when the opportunities are presented.

 

Don't Swing for the Fences

Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

While JRW does have a few players capable of going yard at the plate, the team's best attribute is its speed on the basepaths. Pierce Jones may have fallen in love with his power stroke after clocking three home runs in the first LLWS game.

He's 1-for-11 since.

By simply putting the ball into play, he and his teammates can put pressure on the defense to make plays.

If the balls make it through the infield, then JRW has the players who can stretch singles to doubles, score from first on extra-base hits and score from second easily on singles.

JRW's game is speed, and by cutting down their swings against South Korea, the Americans can play to their strengths.

 

South Korea

Make the Routine Plays in the Field

South Korea has made five errors in four games at the LLWS. Shoddy defense could be costly in the championship game.

Against Japan, South Korea made one error and walked five. How did the team still win? Per ESPN.com, head coach Jong Wook Park said, "Scoring seven runs makes it easier."

Up to this point, the team has been able to overcome the errors, but that's not a guarantee to continue.

Mountain Ridge hurt itself with errors late against JRW in the United States title game. JRW is the type of team that will make a team pay when given extra outs.

If South Korea fails to make the routine plays in the field, it will open the door for JRW to pull the upset.

 

Minimize the Walks

Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Late in JRW's game against Mountain Ridge, a walk is what started the three-run rally that ultimately gave the Chicagoans the 7-5 lead and win. 

South Korea's pitchers must throw strikes to force JRW to beat them at the plate. With the arms that South Korea has, the team is well-equipped to thwart the offense of any team in the LLWS. 

However, wildness on the mound could make the title game very interesting.

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