Little League World Series 2021: US Bracket, TV Schedule and Predictions

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2021

Hamilton, Ohio's Chance Retherford follows through on a two-run triple off Torrance, Calif.'s Dominic Golia during the fifth inning of a baseball game at the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa., Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. Ohio won 4-2. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The final four teams in this year's Little League World Series will take to the field Saturday in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, looking to survive and advance.

The series has been a grueling one, compounded by COVID-19 protocols and iffy weather throughout. The players competing Saturday have overcome it all to battle for the right to represent their state on the grandest stage that little league baseball has to offer. 

Easton Baseball @EastonBaseball

The final four teams are locked in at the @littleleague World Series in Williamsport 🔒 Tune in tomorrow to see which teams will make it on to the championship 🏆 #PoweredbyEaston https://t.co/kDFex7PsM9

Who will emerge as the champions of the Tom Seaver and Hank Aaron divisions, one win away from hoisting the series trophy as the best in the sport?


Bracket and TV Schedule

Ohio vs. South Dakota, 12:30 p.m., ABC

Michigan vs. Hawai'i, 3:30 p.m., ABC


Ohio's Underdog Journey

Of the four teams remaining in this world series, Ohio is easily the least expected.

The team out of Hamilton has staved off elimination in three consecutive games and knocked out a talented California team to make it to the final four.

In a tournament dominated by South Dakota's Gavin Weir and Michigan's Cameron Thorning, Ohio's Chance Retherford has flown under the radar. The right fielder and pitcher has come through big time for the squad, including in the win over California.

In that game, he pitched two innings and allowed one earned run. It was his offensive contributions in that particular showdown against the team from Torrence that helped fuel his team to victory. First, he scored on a wild pitch. Then, in the fifth inning, a shot down the right-field line drove two in. Retherford himself would score just moments later.

Little League @LittleLeague

Chance Retherford down the line for the lead! #LLWS https://t.co/s5bx5zPTra

Unfortunately for the Cinderella story of the series, it has run into an absolute buzzsaw in the form of South Dakota.

While Weir will not take the mound for either of the last two games, the team's defensive play has been flawless. The squad has not allowed a single score throughout the undefeated run in this tournament. It has played lights out and is one of the favorites to win the whole thing.

Ohio has been fun to watch, and easy to root for, but the likelihood that it does what no other team has been able to and put a point on the scoreboard is low.

If it manages to, and can put South Dakota in a position it has not found itself in all series long, the seemingly impossible may prove to be otherwise. On paper, though, it is a difficult matchup.

Prediction: South Dakota ends Ohio's fairy tale run


Michigan vs. Hawai'i

Thorning has been the best hitter in this entire tournament, a player capable of stepping to the mound and knocking the ball out of the park every single time he stares down a pitcher. His swing is flawless, his ability to change games is awe-inspiring, and he may well lead his Michigan squad to the championship game Sunday.

To do so, though, he has to defeat a Hawai'i team that has been perfect through three rounds of competition.

It has beaten every opponent put before it and done so without pomp and circumstance. There is no one central star around whom the team is built. The players simply hit the ball, play solid defense and win. It is a formula that has worked for them thus far as they have outscored opponents 22-4 to remain unbeaten entering Saturday's play.

Little League @LittleLeague

Hawaii and Michigan put on a defensive clinic. #LLWS https://t.co/XHQ0ScDTaD

In Hawai'i's last game, it defeated the same Michigan team it will see Saturday, shutting the team out. It kept Thorning in check and will look to do the same as it eyes the world series title game.

It is unlikely it will be successful.

Thorning has been such a dominant player throughout that the idea that Hawai'i would manage to silence him for two consecutive games is rather implausible. The question is whether the team can contain him enough to limit his effect on the scoreboard and pull out the win.

History throughout this tournament suggests that is much more likely.

Prediction: Hawai'i moves within one game of the championship