With action already underway in the Southeast and Southwest regions and Canada, 2019 Little League World Series qualifying opened Saturday in the Midwest region.
Between the four tournaments, 12 games are on tap throughout the day and into the evening. Here's a brief overview of the results from across the continent. Each of the regional brackets is available through the Little League's official site.
2019 Little League World Series Regionals
Minnesota def. Nebraska, 15-7
Iowa def. Missouri, 2-1
North Dakota def. Kansas, 8-0
Tennessee def. North Carolina, 5-3
West Virginia def. Alabama, 7-0
Virginia def. South Carolina, 12-3
Georgia def. Florida, 2-1
Texas-West def. New Mexico, 6-3
Louisiana def. Texas-East, 4-1
Ontario def. Alberta, 9-1
Atlantic def. Prairies, 9-6
Quebec def. Ancaster, 21-0
A four-run first inning helped Minnesota roll over Nebraska 15-7.
Minnesota's offensive explosion came despite the fact the team only had eight hits. Cayden Alphin and Drew Law combined for six of the hits as well, so the top of the order set the tone.
Nebraska's pitchers allowed 12 walks, while the defense committed seven errors. Seven of Minnesota's runs were unearned.
Heading into the bottom half of the fourth, Minnesota led 10-1. That's when Nebraska's bats came alive. Kole Throckmorton brought one run home with a triple and scored on a single by Griffin Novacek. A bases-loaded walk to Owen Axmann allowed another run to come home.
But Minnesota added five runs in the sixth—three of which were the result of errors—to erase any doubt about the outcome.
A two-run single from Mitch Naig was enough for Iowa to pull out a 2-1 win over Missouri in Saturday's second Midwest regional game.
The Missouri offense didn't have an answer for right-hander Will Nuss, who had 13 strikeouts in 5.1 scoreless innings.
Nuss struck out Cohen Epler to open the sixth before making way for Naig. Naig surrendered back-to-back doubles as Missouri halved the deficit. He also threw a wild pitch and walked Brody Eggleston to put runners at the corners with one out.
Derrick Wagner was stuck at third to end the game as Naig struck out Brock Renfro and Jackson Pickett to secure the victory.
Rounding out the Midwest Saturday was North Dakota and Kansas with North Dakota cruising to an 8-0 win.
North Dakota got on the board right away in the top of the first on a sacrifice fly from Andrew O'Neill. The game was put out of reach with a four-run top of the fourth to make the lead 8-0 in which O'Neill tripled to score Caleb Christianson and Gunner Majerus singled in two more runs.
On the mound, Matthew Bryant kept Kansas in check by striking out six through 4.2 innings pitched.
Tennessee fought off a late charge from North Carolina to collect a 5-3 victory.
Tennessee drew first blood in the third inning with an RBI double by Watson Storey and then manufactured three more runs in the fourth to jump out to a 4-0 lead. Dai Dai Cotton singled home a run before Jackson Kennedy and Cotton scored on an error and fielder's choice, respectively.
North Carolina got on the board in the fifth inning, but Tennessee canceled out the tally in the top half of the sixth when Joe Glover walked in a run.
Glover atoned for the free pass with a two-run homer. Carter Adams popped out to pitcher Ty Frey, and Tyson Foster struck out to end the game.
Storey was the game's standout performer. He went 2-for-4 at the plate with one RBI and pitched four scoreless innings, striking out eight batters and allowing only one hit.
Weston Smith spun a gem as West Virginia blanked Alabama 7-0. Smith went the distance, limiting Alabama to two hits and striking out 11 over six innings.
A five-run second inning made his job a little easier.
Back-to-back singles by Keegan Sack and Jacob Fitzsimmons gave West Virginia a 2-0 lead. An error and hit-by-pitch gifted West Virginia two more runs before an RBI single by Bradley Coleman brought the outburst to an end.
In addition to his work on the mound, Smith went 2-for-4 and accounted for two of his team's runs, completing an excellent all-around performance.
What started out as a great day for South Carolina quickly unraveled.
A single by Dawson Siffri and double by Nolan Grabiec put South Carolina ahead 3-0 coming out of the top of the first. Justin Lee quickly responded with a two-run home run and Joe Ross delivered a two-run single to tie the game.
Lee homered again in the third to give Virginia a 5-3 lead. That was part of a five-run inning, and Virginia broke the game wide open with four more runs in the fourth.
Lee had a monster game, going 3-for-3 with four RBI and three runs scored. Colton Hicks helped power Virgnia as well, going 2-for-4 with two RBI.
The Southeast closed out the day with a nail-biter between Georgia and Florida as Georgia overcame an error to start the game to collect a 2-1 victory.
Florida went up 1-0 in the bottom of the opening frame when Jonah Peacock scored by way of a dropped third strike and wild pitch. However, Georgia brought the game level as soon as they could, as Will Roan crushed a solo home run to lead off the top of the second.
The contest remained tied until Georgia found its go-ahead run through a groundout by Dillion Stiltner in the top of the fourth. Florida's second baseman Dominic Leoni opted to get the sure out at first base, which allowed Kyle Rudolph to score from third.
Florida had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth. Austin Marshall was on third with two outs, but Brandon Reitner grounded out to end the frame. After Georgia extended that threat, Joaquin Maldonado replaced Rudolph at pitcher and only allowed one hit through the final two innings.
Rudolph finished as the game's winning pitcher with three strikeouts through 4.0 innings pitched.
Texas-West came alive with a six-run third inning to stave off New Mexico in a 6-3 victory Saturday.
New Mexico had earned a 1-0 lead when Texas-West catcher Aiden Serrano committed an error, but Serrano reached base on a fly-ball error in the top of the third and eventually gave his squad a 2-1 lead by scoring on a fielder's choice. New Mexico wouldn't sniff the lead again after that.
Serrano came up big again in the bottom of the third by acrobatically throwing out New Mexico pitcher Warek Granger at first base on a weak dribbler in front of home plate.
Granger finished the afternoon having allowed four earned runs on six hits, striking out two and walking two through 3.2 innings pitched.
New Mexico tried to chip away at Texas-West's lead—scoring once in the fourth and once more in the fifth—but Cole Neatherlin took the mound and kept them scoreless in the sixth inning to close out the game.
Jaden Rogers stood out at the plate for Texas-West, going 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored.
Texas-East didn't fare as well, though, as they fell to Louisiana 4-1 in the night cap.
Louisiana made their mark early with some clever base-running in the top of the first. Peyton Spadoni was caught trying to steal second base, but his attempt allowed Ryan Darrah to steal home to give his team a 1-0 lead. The lead was bumped to 2-0 in the top of the following inning through Ryder Planchard's sacrifice fly.
Texas-East made it a ballgame again in the bottom of the fourth when Jake Baskin doubled to bring Jud Dowell home. Louisiana added two insurance runs in the top of the sixth, including this solo home run from Conner Perrot, but wouldn't need them as Baskin's double was the extent of Texas-East's scoring.
Marshall Louque controlled the bulk of the matchup with 5.1 innings pitched—striking out six and allowing the one earned run—but Egan Prather came in to close it out with one strikeout and just eight pitches needed.
Ontario jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the third inning and didn't look back, defeating Alberta 9-1 to pick up its second win of the Canadian regional.
Atlantic beat Prairies 9-6 for its first win of the regional. The Atlantic squad put four across the plate in the first inning and opened up a 5-1 lead in the second, which doomed Prairies to a third straight defeat.
Saturday's action concluded with Quebec routing Ancaster 21-0 to improve to 3-0 while Ancaster dropped to 1-2 as their home field did not serve as an advantage. Prior to the game, Ancaster informed umpires they would be playing the game under protest over their opponent's eligibility.
Once that was cleared up, Quebec left no room for further doubt by racking up 11 runs in the top of the first inning. Leading the charge was Alec Mercier, who smacked two home runs, a double and a triple. Gabriel Blanco kept Ancaster at bay with nine strikeouts.