The 2019 Little League World Series kicks off on Thursday in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
The field is set for 16 of the best youth baseball teams, who will battle it out for the title of Little League World Series champion.
Eight teams from the United States and eight international teams will face off in a double-elimination format, with the top international side and top American group playing each other in the World Series championship.
In the first day of action on Thursday, two international teams and two American teams will square up.
Here's a look at this year's participants, the schedule for Thursday's opening games and predictions for those matches:
2019 Little League World Series Participants
United States Teams
Great Lakes: Bowling Green East, Kentucky
Mid-Atlantic: Elmora Youth Little League, Elizabeth, New Jersey
Midwest: Coon Rapids Andover Little League, Minnesota
New England: Barrington (RI) Little League, Rhode Island
Northwest: Sprague Little League, Salem, Oregon
Southeast: Loudoun South Little League, South Riding, Virginia
Southwest: Eastbank Little League, River Ridge, Louisiana
West: Central East Maui Little League, Wailuku, Hawaii
Asia-Pacific: Chung Nam (B) Little League, South Chungcheong, South Korea
Australia: Cronulla Little League, Sydney, New South Wales
Canada: Coquitlam Little League, Vancouver, British Columbia
Caribbean: Pabao Little League, Willemstad, Curacao
Europe-Africa: Emilia Romagna Little League, Bologna, Italy
Japan: Chofu Little League, Chofu City, Japan
Latin America: Cacique Mara Little League, Maracaibo, Venezuela
Mexico: Epitacio Torres Little League, Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon
Caribbean vs. Australia, 1 p.m. ET on ESPN
New England vs. Southeast, 3 p.m. ET on ESPN
Asia-Pacific vs. Latin America, 5 p.m. ET on ESPN
Midwest vs. Great Lakes, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2
The first game of the Little League World Series (LLWS) will be between the Pabao Little League team from Willemstad, Curacao representing the Caribbean and the Cronulla Little League team out of Sydney, New South Wales in Australia.
Cronulla finished 6-0 in the regional tournament, and this will be its second time representing the Australia region—the first being in 2015. Pabao is no stranger to the LLWS, returning for the ninth time since 1980.
Jurdrick Profar is the younger brother of Jurickson and Juremi Profar, who both played in the LLWS, with Jurickson leading his team to a 2004 victory.
Look for Pabao to advance to the second round under Jurdrick's leadership.
In the first game between American teams, New England's Barrington Little League team will take on the Southeast's Loudoun South Little League team.
Barrington joins four other teams from Rhode Island to represent the New England region in the past six years. After losing to New Hampshire in the first semifinal, it bounced back in the Region Final to defeat New Hampshire 6-4.
Loudoun South is the first team from Virginia to make the LLWS in 25 years. The team dominated in the Region Final and beat Georgia 12-2.
This is sure to be a close game until the end, with Loudoun South edging Barrington with big at-bats from Justin Lee and Colton Hicks—who combined for five hits, five RBI and three runs in the Region Final to secure the victory.
South Korea's Chung Nam (B) Little League team from South Chungcheong is up next against Venezuela's Cacique Mara Little League team from Maracaibo to represent the Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions, respectively.
Venezuela has produced some powerhouse baseball players from Miguel Cabrera to Jose Altuve and Ronald Acuna Jr.
Cacique Mara is the 20th team from the country to represent Latin America.
However, Chung Nam finished with a perfect 7-0 record compared to Cacique Mara's 5-1 record and outscored its opponents 78-8 through the regional tournament. South Korea has sent five teams to the LLWS in the least six years, with last year's team losing in the championship game.
Chung Nam will continue to dominate and move on to the next round.
The last game on Thursday will feature the Coon Rapids Andover Little League team from Minnesota representing the Midwest versus the Bowling Green Eastern Little League team from Kentucky for the Great Lakes region.
A Bowling Green team has made the LLWS in three of the past five years. This year's team had two 15-plus-run games, with nine out of 13 batters notching at least one hit in the 15-6 Region Final win.
Coon Rapids, on the other hand, is a first-time representative. After a 3-1 loss to Iowa in the first semifinal and a 9-0 win over Missouri in the second semifinal, Minnesota found itself down once again to Iowa, entering the fifth inning of the final trailing 5-1. However, seven runs in the last two innings helped it defeat Iowa 8-6 to qualify for the LLWS.
Despite having a top pitcher in Drew Law—who struck out 15 in the first semifinal—Bowling Green Eastern's depth and offensive power will end Minnesota's Cinderella story in the first round.
All team stats and info courtesy of LLWS