Little League World Series 2013: Biggest Surprises from Round 1 of Elite Tourney

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2013

SOUTH WILLAMSPORT, PA - AUGUST 23: Pitcher Ramon Ballina #10 of team Mexico warms up in the bullpen before the start of their Little League World Series game against Panama on August 23, 2012 in South Willamsport, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Round 1 of the Little League World Series is in the books and some shocking outcomes have already been recorded in the always unpredictable tournament. 

The beauty of the World Series is that there are no distractions, outside of one awesome nickname. It's baseball before the drama, money and other issues that have plagued the professional leagues. 

Instead you have 16 youth teams that have ascended on South WilliamsportPa. to simply play the game. There are favorites and underdogs in both the U.S. and International brackets as in any sport, which has made for some exciting moments already. 

Let's take a look at the most shocking items from Round 1 before the double-elimination tournament continues. 

New England's Narrow Escape 

Westport Little League from the New England region came into the tournament as a heavy favorite to dominate most of the competition after its strong showing it the New England Regional tournament. 

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To qualify for the trip to South Williamsport, the team racked up a 6-0 record while outscoring opponents by a total tally of 43-8. 

In the No. 4 game of the tournament on August 15, New England took on South Nashville, representing the Southeast and considered a major underdog. In the Southeast Regional the team had only compiled a 4-1 record while outscoring opponents 34-16. The problem for Southeast was inconsistency, as 17 of the 34 total runs came in one game, while in its only loss the team scored just once. 

So it's easy to see why New England entered the contest as heavy favorites. 

Instead the lead was exchanged five times before Chad Knight hit a double to left field to just eke New England by the Southeast team, 3-2. 

The Southeast has plenty of time to build off the strong performance and potentially find some consistency, but things are a bit more concerning for New England. After a major run of dominance, a narrow escape such as the one experienced in Round 1 needs to serve as a wake-up call. 

Chad Lorkowski Out-Dueled by Grant Holman

Speaking of heavy favorites, Grosse Pointe Woods of the Great Lakes Division entered its contest with Eastlake from the West as heavy favorites thanks to the "Swag Daddy."

Sorry, didn't catch that? "Swag Daddy" is 12-year old Chad Lorkowski, who weighs in at 6'2" and 200 pounds. Lorkowski made his team the favorite in the matchup not only because he brings the boom at the plate, but because he also excels as a pitcher. 

What most failed to realize is Eastlake has some swag of its own in the form of the 6'4", 166-pound pitcher known as Grant Holman. 

Lorkowski was no slouch on the mound in the contest as he threw one-hit ball over the course of six innings and struck out 12 batters before being pulled for reaching his pitch count. 

But it was Holman who stole the show as he made Little League Baseball World Series history by throwing a no-hitter in extra innings—the first since pitch-count rules were imposed.

Holman threw the no-hitter over the course of seven innings as the West emerged victorious, 3-0. 

Lorkowski and Co. have plenty of time to come back from the upset, but the clock is ticking.

On the other hand, you have West riding a historic performance from Holman, and it may have just created a serious—albeit unexpected—contender for the World Series title. 


Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling

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