Little League World Series 2021: Teams and Top Players Remaining in LLWS Bracket

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2021

Sioux Falls, S.D.'s Gavin Weir (19) throws to a Torrance, Calif., batter during the first inning of a baseball game at the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa., Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021. South Dakota won 1-0. (AP Photo/Tom E. Puskar)
Tom E. Puskar/Associated Press

The Little League World Series may be a team-oriented baseball tournament, but the 2021 edition has been dominated by two players who have lifted their squads all the way to the Tom Seaver and Hank Aaron division finales.

One is a dominant pitcher who has not allowed a single hit in LLWS competition. The other? A fierce hitter whose clutch plays have led his team back from the brink of elimination in previous games.

Two games stand between them and Little League immortality. Who are they and why should you pay extra attention to them when they step to the plate?



Tom Seaver Division Final: Ohio vs. South Dakota (Saturday, 12:30 p.m., ABC)

Hank Aaron Division Final: Michigan vs. Hawai'i (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ABC)

Consolation Game: TBD vs. TBD (Sunday, 10 a.m., ESPN)

Championship Game: TBD vs. TBD (Sunday, 3 p.m., ABC)


Who to Watch

Cameron Thorning, C/P, Michigan

No hitter has been more lethal to his opponent's chances of winning than Thorning. A player capable of knocking a pitch out of the park every time he is at bat, Thorning has been key in Michigan's advancement to the final four.

Even when he struggles, as he did when he struck out early in Thursday's game against Texas, he makes up for it a few moments later. The rare strikeout? No problem. He followed it up with an inside the park home run that would spark his team to a 15-6 drubbing of Texas.

Baseball Bros @BaseballBros

I appreciate a great swing when I see one https://t.co/SPQBD1WMKL

Two days earlier, he launched a grand slam that brought his team back from a 5-0 hole to beat the same Texas team.

"Our team and our fans knows what he's capable of doing," coach and father Dave Thorning told Lee Thompson of MLive.com after the first Texas game. "So you can feel it from the dugout and hear it in the crowd. When the bases are loaded and he comes up, there's a different sense of excitement."

The Taylor North team will need Thorning to have his best game of the tournament Saturday when they face the only unblemished team left in the competition, Hawai'i, against whom they lost Wednesday. In that game, Hawai'i blanked Thorning and Co.

Kaikea Patoc-Young also robbed Thorning of a home run that may well have turned the tide in that game.


Gavin Weir, CF/1B/P, South Dakota

Weir may be the best player in the history of the LLWS, and that isn't hyperbole.

ESPN @espn

EVER SEEN A STAT LINE LIKE THIS?! 🤯 Gavin Weir has been on a TEAR en route to and during the #LLWS 🔥 https://t.co/PwYr9ynOiJ

The 12-year-old's stats are otherworldly, including seven no-hitters in the eight games in which he has pitched on his way to the Seaver Division finale.

You read that correctly. He has thrown 43.2 shutout innings, striking out 114 batters in the process. When he isn't retiring batters at a nearly unprecedented clip, he can be seen pulling a Shohei Ohtani and knocking a three-run home run out of the park, as he did in South Dakota's win over Oregon Monday.

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

When he's not pitching no-hitters, he's hitting game-winning home runs! Gavin Weir is doing it all at the #LLWS 👏 https://t.co/hMOkNf32ij

Weir's hitless performances have been a huge contributor in his squad's flawless performance in this series. South Dakota has not allowed a single run in any of its games in Williamsport. Against Ohio, the Cinderella story of this year's field, the trend should continue.

While Weir will not be on the mound for either of the next two games, his quiet leadership and ability to hit the ball will prove invaluable.