Little League World Series 2021: Friday Schedule, TV Info and Bracket PredictionAugust 20, 2021
Round 1 of the 2021 Little League World Series rolls on Friday in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Two first-round games in both the Hank Aaron and Tom Seaver Championship Brackets will be played throughout the day.
The COVID-19 pandemic canceled the tournament altogether in 2020. Fortunately, the event has come back this year, but it's a little more domestic than usual.
Rather than the traditional eight American teams and eight international sides playing in separate brackets to determine the championship game participants, 16 teams from the U.S. will vie for the title.
That means regional champions and runners-up qualified to come to Williamsport, opening the door for a regional runner-up to go on a Cinderella run to win the whole thing.
Some of those teams will be in action today as the first-round pairs up regional champions with runners-up. Here's a look at what the whole schedule looks like, including TV info.
Pennsylvania vs. Oregon, 1 p.m. on ESPN
Michigan vs. Florida, 3 p.m. on ESPN
Louisiana vs. South Dakota, 5 p.m. on ESPN
Washington vs. Texas, 7 p.m. on ESPN2
All times ET. Full bracket can be found here.
Pennsylvania and Oregon will kick off Friday's slate of games. Pennsylvania ran through the Mid-Atlantic region, going 4-0 to win the regional championship.
The Upper Providence team had plenty of offense, but it was really aided by stellar pitching from Jalen Bowman and Tommy Sergio. They pitched 17.1 innings in the tournament and combined to give up just one run with 32 strikeouts.
They'll go up against an Oregon team that had a ton of offense in their tournament until losing 2-1 in the championship game. It was shut out in its opening game before posting 37 runs in three games to climb back into the title encounter.
Prediction: Pennsylvania 5, Oregon 1
Michigan was another regional champion who rolled through their qualifying tournament. It went 4-0 and may have the best pitcher in the field. Ethan Van Belle was a problem for other teams as he picked up all four wins and struck out 24 batters while posting a 0.47 ERA.
It faces a Florida squad that went 3-1 in their tourney. It's a capable team on the mound as well. It recorded two shutouts in a row before giving up 10 to Tennessee in the championship game.
This one could feature a low-scoring pitching duel, but Van Belle gives Michigan the advantage.
Prediction: Michigan 3, Florida 1
Louisiana produced the most recent LLWS champion after River Ridge Little League defeated Curacao in the final 8-0. Now, Lafayette will attempt to continue to carry the banner for the state after winning all of its games in the Southwest regional.
It's also a team that boasts dominant pitching. It gave up just three runs in their four qualifiers.
Gavin Weir is the name to watch for South Dakota. He struck out 30 batters in the regional while hitting a double, two triples and home run in 13 plate appearances to lead the team in slugging.
That being said, it's hard to go against the pitching that will be representing Louisiana.
Prediction: Louisiana 4, South Dakota 1
Washington will look to carry its undefeated run in the Northwest regional to a magical run in Williamsport. It has shown the ability to win with its bats (the team beat Montana 10-4) or it can go pitch-for-pitch in a defensive duel (it won the regional championship 2-1 against Oregon).
Texas finished second in the Southwest regional but features a one-two punch in Carter Nelson and Dylan Regala that could carry the offense to great heights.
Nelson hit .500 in the regional games with three doubles, while Regala struck two dingers and a triple.
Texas' firepower could be the difference here.
Prediction: Texas 7, Washington 5