After tonight we are officially at the half way point of the 2016 LLWS and I sincerely hope my previous article convinced you to watch this year’s tournament, its been a great one. For those who are just tuning in now, jump on the Iowa Train, and here’s a quick recap of what’s gone down so far.

  • Japan went 0-2 and got eliminated on Day 3. For anyone who follows the LLWS this was just crazy. Japan taking the L to Canada was crazy, but Canada’s Loreto Siniscalchi wasn’t exactly your average Canada starter. Kid was a hearty 6’1 and throwing complete gas. He regularly dropped 77 right on the corners, so the upset wasn’t quite as crazy as it sounded. Japan then went out and lost to Curacao, who was also a solid team, but this is Japan! Here is quick rundown of Japan’s last 10 LLWS.
    • 2006: 2-1 Loss in the final to Kyle Carter
    • 2007: 3-2 Loss in the final on a walk off HR in the 8th
    • 2008: 5-4 Loss in the international final
    • 2009: 6-0 Loss in the international semi final
    • 2010: LLWS champs
    • 2011: 2-1 Loss in the final on a walk off
    • 2012: LLWS Champs
    • 2013: LLWS Champs
    • 2014: 12-3 Loss in the international final
    • 2015: LLWS Champs

And then they went 0-2! No matter what happens the rest of the way this is the story of the tourney.

  • Japan’s early exit was stunning, but no individual loss was as unexpected as California going down to Iowa. The Midwest region is without a doubt the worst region each and every year, for as long as I’ve watched they have never put out a competitive team. California on the other hand regularly sends out dominant teams, and from watching their Regional final this year’s Chula Vista (2009 and 2013 US champions came from that same town) squad looked to be no different. And then it happened. Cali sat their ace, Iowa played a flawless game, and somehow someway Iowa walked away with a fairly comfy 5-1 win. A truly miraculous game.
  • Iowa is good. Seriously. This year’s Iowa team is really fucking good. They are deep in arms, though they had to blow through quite a few arms in their marathon game vs. Bowling Green. They have a nice staple of bats, and play terrific defense. This team could seriously contend for the US title. I can’t believe that sentence.
  • The US bracket is crazy! The two 2-0 teams are New York and Bowling Green. Texas went 0-2. Tennessee can’t hit and will most likely lose to California tonight. Oregon went 0-2. The favorite is Bowling Green, KY who are led by a filthy 1-2 of Devin Obee and Isiah Head and feature 3 returning players. New York can’t be counted out however as they are working on a 20-0 summer and have a nasty 1-2 combo of their own in Michael Mancini (he of the famous prep face vine) and Ryan Harlost. And then there’s California, who has one of the better pitchers I have ever watched in Victor Lizaraga, who would be eligible to go Thursday for a birthplace in the US final if Cali can get past Tennessee and Iowa these next two nights. That Iowa-Cali game is going to be epic, I can’t wait.
  • On the international side the final 4 is set: Mexico, Australia, Panama and South Korea. Australia is fucked without their horse on the mound, so they are going down tomorrow. Panama South Korea should be a good game tomorrow, but this South Korea team is loaded, and are the clear international favorite.
  • PREDICTIONS
    • Tuesday
      • Cali over Tennessee
    • Wednesday:
      • Cali over Iowa (I’m rooting for Iowa believe that)
      • Bowling Green over New York
      • Mexico over Australia
      • South Korea over Panama
    • Thursday
      • Cali over New York (Lizaraga vs. Mancini would be such a joy, but he threw 85 Monday so won’t see him for 4 days.)
      • Panama over Mexico
    • Saturday
      • South Korea over Panama
      • Bowling Green over California (I picked them to win it all at the start of the tourney sticking with my guns)
    • Sunday
      • South Korea over Bowling Green.
    • Enjoy