Little League World Series: 10 Most Dramatic LLWS Homers
What's better than being a kid? Tossing wild pitches in the backyard, smacking homers into the old man's yard across the street and replacing the sounds of swirling winds with the roar of a crowd, all with your imagination.
Since 1947, the Little League World Series has been making those dreams a reality, allowing baseball-frenzied youngsters the opportunity to briefly surpass all formalities of becoming a professional baseball player and crack a loud homer out of the park in front of your friends, family, and these days, national television audience.
Little or big league, the home run is king of drama in this sport. Whether it's Josh Hamilton unleashing thunder or overwhelmed young boys stepping up to the plate; there's nothing a crowd fiends for like a high-flying fence topper.
The Little League World Series has provided baseball fans a particularly interesting glimpse into some of baseball's future stars. With every swing at the plate, dreams appear and vanish. Here's our look at the Top 10 Home Runs in Little League World Series history; or rather, 10 of the greatest dream realizations.
#10 Zach Schreiber (2008)
With the score knotted at zero at the bottom of the third, it appeared that a match up between Maryland and Louisiana in the United States Pool A of the 2008 LLWS was going to belong to the pitchers.
Suddenly, Maryland erupted for a string of home runs that turned a snooze fest into a bruise fest. After two home runs drove in three scores for Maryland, Zach Schreiber entered the batter's box and taught Louisiana's manager a lesson in pulling pitchers.
A 50 mph pitch went soaring off Schreiber's bat over the center field fence to put Maryland up 4-0. The Mid-Atlantic representatives would go on to win 6-4 over their opponents from the south.
#9 Motoki Takashima (2009)
In an international battle with Curacao, Japan found themselves tied 7-7 at the top of the fourth inning, as batter Motoki Takashima took the plate.
With two outs, a 57 mph pitch proved too slow, as Takashima sent it flying over the left field wall to add two scores for Japan. Unfortunately for Team Japan, Curacao would add some late runs to take the contest 12-11.
#8 Eric Kuse (2009)
In the 2009 Midwest Regional Final, Eric Kuse of Missouri showed the kind of heart that is hard to find in youngsters, especially when down 6-1.
With his jersey neck clinched between his teeth for batting stance purposes, Kuse unloaded on a fastball, sending it over the center field fence for a grand slam.
Although Missouri would go on to lose the contest 7-6, Kuse reminded fans and players alike that with perseverance, no game is lost until the final pitch.
#7 Chris Holba (2009)
In another epic case of a grand slam, Germany's Chris Holba upped the score against the Canadians in a tight game of 2009's International Pool D.
After previously contributing to five runs in the inning, Holba was ready for an encore. Down 10-7 in the bottom of the fifth with one out, the young man unleashed a monstrous grand slam over center field, putting Germany up 11-10.
Holba's tremendous scoring prowess would not be enough however, as the Canadians added some late runs to take the contest 14-13.
#6 Anthony Cusati (2009)
In an international contest between Team Canada and Team Mexico, Anthony Cusati, the youngster from up north, sparked an early scoring drive with a massive hit in the second inning of 2009's International Pool D.
With zero outs and one ball, the pressure wasn't necessarily weighing down Cusati's shoulders; at least that's the way it appeared when his arms released for a deep shot to center field on a 75 mph pitch. (That's 98 mph in the majors.)
The home run only drove in Cusati for one score, which was the score the Canadians would need to go to extra innings. Unfortunately for Cusati and his strong effort, Mexico would prevail.
#5 Dante Bichette (2005)
Remember the old saying, "like father, like son?"
It's certainly applicable in the case of Dante Bichette Jr., son of the former Colorado Rockies star, who acted as a pitching and hitting superstar for his Maitland, Fla. team in the 2005 Little League World Series.
Bichette turned in one of the most memorable single-player performances in Little League history in a game against Davenport, Iowa. After delivering consistent heat across the plate by retiring 11 batters off the pitcher's mound, Bichette stepped to the plate for his own swing late in the sixth.
With a full count and two outs,Bichette launched a three-run homer, extending a 4-3 lead to a 7-3 final score.
#4 Wyatt Willis (2009)
It's hard to hide your emotion while circling the bases after a game-deciding home run, as Wyatt Willis displayed in a 2009 game against Chula Vista, Calif.
With a 4-3 lead at the top of the sixth and two outs, Willis popped a 71 mile-an-hour pitch into far center field, scoring two runs to advance the Southwest team over their Californian counterparts.
Launching into an arm-flinging high-five with a base coach at third, Willis rounded into home, where he was greeted by his ecstatic teammates and of course, his father.
That's classic little league.
#3 Matt Hoshman (2009)
With the score knotted up at 7-7 at the bottom of the sixth, Rhode Island and Massachusetts were in a fierce battle for regional pride in this 2009 game.
Matt Hosman delivered one of the most beautiful sounds of contact when his wooden bat shot the final pitch into the trees beyond center field. The grand slam walk-off home run was not only an example of clutch heroics, but expert batting technique.
The 11-7 win catapulted the Peabody Western team past the New England Regional final and Hosman into little league fame.
#2 Michael Memea (2005)
In the first game-ending home run of a Little League World Championship game, Michael Memea propelled his West Oahu, Hawaii team to glory with an extra inning homer bigger than the little island itself.
The boys from Oahu toppled the defending champions from Willemstad, Curacao with their bats, entering the game with a tournament-leading 10 home runs.
The most important one would come at the hands of Memea, who stepped up to bat after going 0-3 with two strikeouts earlier in the contest. With a full count, Memea hit the ball deep down center field, coasting across the fence and sending the crowd into a frenzy.
West Oahu became Hawaii's first team to win a Little League Championship.
#1 Dalton Carriker (2007)
The image of Georgia player Dalton Carriker rounding the bases, arms outstretched overhead in a shocked "Y," is perhaps the most recognizable in modern little league play.
In the championship finale of the 2007 series, Georgia had climbed back from a 2-0 deficit against Japan in the second inning; a tie which remained until extra innings, at the bottom of the eighth.
On a 2-1 count, Carriker unleashed a quick, low swing off of Junso Kiuchi's pitch, sending the ball 225 feet away and clear over the right-field wall, into Little League history. Carriker had reached sports infamy at the ripe age of 12, braces glistening across an unmistakable smile.
What quickly followed relentless whistles, claps and chants of U-S-A was one of the greatest displays of sportsmanship, when the Georgia players walked onto the field and consoled their foreign counterparts as brothers in sport.
Only in little league...