Little League World Series 2010: Breaking Down the Bracket
We are six days into this year's Little League World Series. The brackets are beginning to narrow and a few elite teams are emerging.
Actually, the six days part is a little deceiving. Just to get this far in Williamsport, many of these kids have played dozens of games this summer, often times beginning in May or June.
By the end of August 29th, there will be one winner.
So who has the inside track to Little League fame and glory?
Let's take a look.
Hawaii Vs. Georgia
Hawaii has been considered an underdog for a while now, but the fact is, they keep finding a way to win.
First it was their dramatic, or was it non-dramatic, win against a heavily favored Ohio team.
Hawaii won the game 6-4, while only recording one hit. However, seven walks and three hit batsmen allowed them to push several runs across the plate.
Like many big league teams, this Hawaii team has shown they can make pitchers pay for their walks. The one hit in the Ohio game was a three-run homer that tied the game at four.
Then yesterday, Hawaii stunned a Georgia team by beating them 7-4 to force an elimination game for both teams.
So who will advance to play Texas?
When it comes to little league, the more talented team seems to win, and that would appear to be Georgia.
But with Hawaii's knack for upsets, they may prevail.
Texas Vs. Georgia
The Hawaii and Georgia game will be a close one, but let's assume Georgia advances with ace Jacob Pate throwing in the rubber match.
This game would pit two baseball power house states against one another in the semifinals of this tournament.
Texas is lucky to be here, after having to score four runs in the top of the sixth to put away Washington in an elimination game on Thursday.
Texas required even more luck in the bottom of the inning, when two runners were able to get on with just one out, and only having a two run lead. But a base running gaffe by Washington allowed Texas to get their second out of the inning at third base, and Texas pitcher Mason Van Noort finished the game with a strikeout.
By the way, it should be mentioned that teams who lose in the semifinals are not given the opportunity to come out of the loser's bracket.
This game is a coin flip, but Texas seems to have a slight edge.
Extra rest with kids this young cannot be overestimated, and because Georgia has their ace going on Friday, Texas does not have to worry about facing them Saturday.
Expect Texas to add another U.S. Championship to their resume.
Japan Vs. Chinese Taipei
Both of these teams enter the game undefeated, and it's possible that they are the two best teams in the tournament.
Chinese Taipei dominated group play, winning their games by a combined 46-1.
Japan had a bit tougher bracket, and barely sneaked by Mexico twice, winning 3-2 and 4-2.
It's hard to discount Japan, but does it really seem like they have an opportunity to beat the Chinese Taipei team?
And it's not like Chinese Taipei haven't been tested. Panama got out to a 1-0 lead against them before Chinese Taipei stormed back for a 5-1 victory.
Chinese Taipei wins this one, but it will not be as easy as their other games.
Third Place Game: Georgia Vs. Japan
The Little League World Series is coming to a close, and Americans find themselves anxious for some pigskin.
But first, Georgia wants to fire up the nation by crushing Japan for the third place title.
Georgia's ace Jacob Pate will return for this game, and expect him to shut down a tired Japan team.
Championship: Chinese Taipei Vs. Texas
Chinese Taipei have been a force to reckon with in this tournament.
This would mark the second consecutive year Chinese Taipei would play for the championship game.
However, Chinese Taipei has not won a World Series since 1996, and American teams have won the tournament for four consecutive years.
After Japan battles Chinese Taipei, they won't have enough left in the tank to defeat a good Texas team.
Congratulations Texas, you've just won the Little League World Series!
Okay—not yet, but you're close.