When the little league team made up of kids from Bonita and Chula Vista lost 8-4 to Pearland, TX, in the second round of the Little League World Series on Sunday, the result seemed a little shocking.
Those Sweetwater Valley Sluggers only having four runs and six hits is kind of like Michael Jordan only scoring 15 points in an NBA Finals game. Keep in mind, this is a team that had scored 16, 11, 11, 12 and 14 runs in its previous five games and tied a LLWS record with five home runs in one inning in its World Series opener.
Sometimes you run in to a hot pitcher, and that was certainly the case on Sunday. That's baseball. But if anyone out there thinks this team is out of contention because it has to go through the losers bracket, think again. In fact, Sweetwater might be BUILT to win things the hard way.
The toughest thing about losing a game early in this tournament is finding enough pitching to get through the remaining games. Instead of a pass to Wednesday's U.S. bracket semi-finals Sweetwater has to win on Monday and Tuesday to reach the American final four. That means a lot more innings and a lot more arms needed to fill them.
However, every other team is in the same boat. So every team will be diving deep in to its staff to get by, which gives the advantage to a good offense. Sweetwater Valley has a dominant offense. They might end up having to score 15 runs a game to advance, but they've proven they have the firepower to do just that. No other team in the tournament has shown it can simply out-blast the opponent.
So when Sweetwater Valley takes the field on Monday night at 5:00 San Diego time, don't be surprised to see baseballs flying all over Willilamsport, PA. Oh, and keep in mind, last year's U.S. champions from Illinois lost its second game while putting up its lowest run total of the tournament.
This thing is far, far from over.