Tijuana team ready to represent Mexico at Little League World Series

The team from the border city just south of San Diego County is representing Mexico for only the second time in the last decade

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The excitement can't be contained among a group of 12-year-olds from Tijuana who will represent their home country in the 2023 Little League World Series this week.

"The kids are very excited right now," Tijuana LL manager Francisco Fimbred said. "They are waiting for tomorrow to be in the field. I don´t know how to explain it right now. They've worked hard to be here.”

The Little League World Series got underway in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday with 20 national and international teams competing for the title. Tijuana will first play at 2 p.m. PST Friday against Japan, who beat out Cuba to make it to round 2. Follow the game schedule here.

The Little League World Series returns with a 20-team field that will compete for the international title.

"I feel good and we are training a lot and I feel good to play tomorrow," pitcher and first baseman Marko Mejia Sanchez said.

The team from the border city just south of San Diego County is representing Mexico for only the second time in the last decade. The last time was 2013 when the team also faced Japan and lost.

Most of the players haven't seen their family in a week but their loved ones are set to arrive just ahead of their first game. The cost of travel and their stay has been paid for by donations received from locals in San Diego and Tijuana.

"We look for a way. We have done fundraisers, we have sold many things, and we have a GoFundMe from where we hope we get support but it is not easy," said Jorge Humberto Rubio, one of the baseball player's fathers.

Not every team starts the Little League World Series in the same position as part of the 20-team bracket. Four teams on each side of the bracket will play an additional game, while two other teams from each side will have to await the results of those games to figure out their first opponent.

From there, the tournament follows a double-elimination format until the U.S. Final and the International Final. The winners of those two games will meet up for the LLWS title. 

All games will be broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. Matchups can also be streamed on Watch ESPN and the ESPN app.

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