The 73rd Little League World Series begins on Thursday in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The 16-team field, which consists of eight U.S. and eight international teams, will face off in a modified double-elimination tournament culminating with the Little League World Series championship game on Aug. 25.
A U.S. team has won two of the past three Little League World Series titles, and U.S. entrants will be seeking to win consecutive championships for the first time since a run of five in a row from 2005 to ’09. U.S. teams are 17-35 all time against international teams in LLWS championship games.
This year’s World Series will not feature any teenagers. Little League announced in 2015 that the date by which eligibility is determined was being switched from Dec. 31 to Aug. 31, effective in 2018, thus eliminating the possibility of 13-year-olds playing in the series. Last year, 39.9% (85 of 213) of the players were 13.
Here are scouting reports and fun facts for each team:
Great Lakes: Bowling Green Eastern Little League
Location: Bowling Green, Kentucky
Scouting report: Kentucky is making its 10th Little League World Series appearance and first since 2016. Kentucky teams are 14-18 all time in the LLWS. … Bowling Green Eastern Little League is making its third trip to Williamsport, all of them in the past five years. Rick Kelley has managed all three teams. His teams won two games in both 2015 and 2016. … Bowling Green Eastern Little League is a perfect 14-0 this summer. It went 3-0 at Regionals and averaged 11.7 runs per game. … Kentucky’s only Little League World Series title came in 2002, when Valley Sports American Little League from Louisville defeated Japan 1-0 in the championship game. … Kentucky opens LLWS play against Minnesota at 7 p.m. ET Thursday. This will be the first LLWS matchup between the two states.
Fun fact: Devin Obee, a star for the Bowling Green Little League team that reached the 2016 LLWS, has committed to Duke to play baseball (class of 2021) and made the 16U U.S. National Team Development Program.
Mid-Atlantic: Elmora Youth Little League
Location: Elizabeth, New Jersey
Scouting report: Elmora Youth Little League is making its first Little League World Series appearance. … New Jersey went 5-1 in the regional tournament. It lost its second game of the tournament on a walk-off, three-run home run but outscored its final four opponents 32-5, throwing two shutouts in the process. … Elmora almost didn’t make it out of the New Jersey state tournament. It trailed 4-3 in the championship game with one out and no one on in the sixth inning before rallying to win. … New Jersey is one of four U.S. states to win at least four LLWS titles, with its last coming in 1998 (Tom’s River). … New Jersey will open LLWS play against Oregon at 8 p.m. ET Friday. The two states have played each other once: New Jersey beat Oregon in 2012.
Fun fact: Elmora manager Jairo Labrador told The New York Post that Mets third baseman Todd Frazier’s exploits back in 1998 — when he led Toms River (New Jersey) to the Little League World Series title — inspired Elizabeth to form Elmora, which was chartered the next year.
Midwest: Minnesota Coon Rapids Andover American Little League
Location: Coon Rapids, Minnesota
Scouting report: Coon Rapids Andover American Little League will be making its first Little League World Series appearance. It opens play on Thursday against Great Lakes Region champion Kentucky. It will be the first meeting between Minnesota and Kentucky in the Little League World Series. … Coon Rapids will be the seventh team to represent the state of Minnesota in the LLWS and the first since 2010, when Plymouth/New Hope Little League went 0-3. Minnesota is 6-12 all time in the LLWS and has never made it to a U.S. Championship Game. … Coon Rapids advanced to Williamsport with an 8-6 win over Johnston Little League from Iowa in Saturday’s Midwest Championship Game. Coon Rapids trailed by four runs entering the top of the fifth inning — and by one entering the top of the sixth — before rallying to avenge its only loss at Regionals. Jameson Kuznia played the hero, crushing a three-run home run with two outs in the top of the sixth inning to break a 5-5 tie. It was Kuznia’s sixth home run of the summer.
Fun fact: Maddy Freking of Minnesota will be the first girl to play in the Little League World Series since Mo’ne Davis and Emma March in 2014. She will be the 19th girl to play in the LLWS. The most recent girl from Minnesota to play in the tournament was Krissy Wendell in 1994. Wendell went on to star for the University of Minnesota women’s hockey team and later served as a team captain for the U.S. national team.
New England: Barrington Little League
Location: Barrington, Rhode Island
Scouting report: This is the first team from Barrington to represent Rhode Island in the Little League World Series. … Barrington went 3-1 in regional play, avenging an earlier loss by defeating New Hampshire in the championship game. … Barrington lost its first game in Districts before rebounding to win seven consecutive elimination games in district play. The drama didn’t stop there. In the Rhode Island state title game, Barrington trailed by five runs with one out in the top of the sixth inning with no one on before putting up eight runs to stun Cranston Western 10-7. … Rhode Island will open the Little League World Series at 3 p.m. ET Thursday against Virginia. This will be the first time that teams from the two states face each other in the LLWS.
Fun fact: Rhode Island is in Williamsport for the 11th time. This will also be its fifth appearance in the past six years. Rhode Island teams have posted a record of 5-7 in the LLWS since 2014.
Northwest: Sprague Little League
Location: Salem, Oregon
Scouting report: This is the first team from Salem to represent Oregon in the LLWS. … Sprague LL went 3-0 in regional play, defeating Idaho in the championship game in its second consecutive matchup in regional play. … Oregon is in Williamsport for the seventh time. This will be its first appearance in the tournament since 2016. Oregon teams are 6-13 all time in the Little League World Series and 1-8 in their past three tournament appearances (since 2012). The state’s best finish came back in 2006, when Murrayhill Little League from Beaverton made it all the way to the U.S. title game before falling to eventual champs Georgia. … Oregon teams are 0-6 in opening games in the LLWS. They have scored more than one run in two of their six opening games. … Oregon will open Little League World Series play at 8 p.m. ET Friday against New Jersey. The two states have met once, a game New Jersey won in the 2012 LLWS.
Fun fact: Carson McNally did not make the Sprague Little League district team last year. He worked hard to improve during the offseason and made the team this year. He came on to pitch in relief in the state championship and got the final out.
Southeast: Loudoun South LL
Location: South Riding, Virginia
Scouting report: Virginia is making its ninth LLWS appearance and its first since 1994. Only eight states had a longer gap between LLWS appearances. … Loudoun South is making its first LLWS appearance. It went 4-0 in regionals. … Loudoun South reached last year’s regional final but lost to Peachtree City American Little League of Georgia. Teams from Virginia had lost their previous six regional title games. … Loudoun South went 6-0 and outscored opponents 68-7 en route to winning the state tournament. The team posted a shutout in each of its first four games in the tournament. … This is the first time a team from South Riding has reached the LLWS. … Virginia begins LLWS play on Thursday against Rhode Island (3 p.m. ET). The two states have never met in the LLWS.
Southwest: Eastbank Little League
Location: River Ridge, Louisiana
Scouting report: Louisiana is making its eighth LLWS appearance and its first since 2011, when Lafayette went 1-2. Eastbank Little League is making its first LLWS appearance. … Eastbank is undefeated this summer. It went 4-0 in regionals, beating both Texas teams en route to winning the title. Louisiana beat Texas West in the regional final, snapping a streak of seven straight appearances for Texas in the LLWS. … In districts and states combined, Eastbank outscored its opponents 79-0. … Eastbank threw three shutouts in three state tournament games, outscoring its opponents 46-0. … This is the first time a team from the city of River Ridge is appearing in the LLWS. It’s the fourth city from Louisiana to produce a LLWS team, joining Alexandria, Lake Charles and Lafayette. … River Ridge, a suburb of New Orleans, is located 11 miles west of the city. … Louisiana begins LLWS play against Hawaii at 4 p.m. ET Friday.
Fun fact: Louisiana has a 9-14 record in the LLWS but has won at least one game in six of its seven previous appearances.
West: Central East Maui Little League
Location: Wailuku, Hawaii
Scouting report: Recent history says that when Hawaii makes it to Williamsport, watch out. Each of the past four Hawaiian teams to appear in the Little League World Series went on to win the U.S. Championship — and three of them won the whole thing, including last year, when Honolulu Little League defeated South Korea in the title game. This year, Central East Maui Little League represents the state, and it is the first team from Maui to make it to Williamsport.. … Hawaii defeated Arizona 4-1 in the West Region title game, capping a perfect 4-0 run at Regionals. Logan Kuloloia picked up the win in the championship, allowing just one run and two hits while going the distance. He also helped himself by going 2-for-2 at the plate with a home run. Jaren Pascual also came up big, smacking a three-run home run. He finished Regionals with seven RBIs in four games and reached base in 11 of his 15 plate appearances. … Hawaii will open the Little League World Series at 4 p.m. ET Friday against Louisiana. The states have met two times before, with Hawaii coming out on top both times.
Fun fact: Former MLB player (and Hawaii native) Shane Victorino drove from Las Vegas to watch the Central East Maui All-Stars play in San Bernardino. His father and Maui’s mayor, Michael Victorino, was also in attendance.
Asia-Pacific: Chung Nam (B) Little League
Location: South Chungcheong, South Korea
Scouting Report: South Korea is representing the Asia-Pacific region for the fourth consecutive year and the fifth time in the past six years. This is its overall Little League World Series appearance. It has reached the LLWS championship in five of its previous six trips to Williamsport. Last year’s representative lost in the title game to Hawaii. … To get here, South Korea went 7-0 in regional play, defeating Chinese Taipei in the Asia-Pacific final. South Korea outscored its opponents 78-8 in regionals play. … South Korea is 20-5 all time in the Little League World Series — and 6-0 all time in opening games of the LLWS. South Korea opens LLWS play against Venezuela at 5 p.m. ET Thursday. South Korea is 1-0 all time vs. Venezuela, with that victory coming in 1985.
Fun Fact: South Korea will have gone 47 days between the regional title game and its LLWS opener. Only Australia has a longer layoff.
Australia: Cronulla Little League
Location: Sydney, Australia
Scouting report: This will be Cronulla Little League’s second trip to the Little League World Series. It also won the Australian Region title in 2015. … Cronulla is the fourth team in the past five years from the state of New South Wales to represent Australia in Williamsport. … This will be the seventh time Australia has been represented in the Little League World Series (all since the nation received its regional designation in 2013). The best finish for an Australian team was in 2016, when Hills Little League (Sydney) went 2-2, beating Italy and Curacao before being eliminated by Mexico. … Cronulla went a perfect 6-0 in the Australian Regional Tournament. After going 3-0 in pool play, it beat Manly in the quarterfinals, Hills Red in the semifinals and Ryde Red in the title game. … Australia will face Curacao in the opening game of the tournament at 1 p.m. ET Thursday. Australia is 1-0 all time against Curacao. That victory came in 2016.
Fun Fact: Cronulla will have gone 65 days between the regional title game and its LLWS opener, the longest layoff for any team this year.
Canada: Coquitlam Little League
Location: Coquitlam, British Columbia
Scouting report: Coquitlam Little League will be making its second Little League World Series appearance and first since 1984, when it posted a 1-2 record in Williamsport. … Coquitlam went 7-1 in the Canada Regional tournament, capping things with a 6-3 victory over Mirabel, Quebec, in the championship game. Just three days earlier, Coquitlam lost to Quebec 12-2. … When Little League expanded the World Series from four to seven teams in 1958, the Canadian Region was established. A Canadian team has appeared in Williamsport every year since except 1975. … Canada opens the Little League World Series against Mexico at 6 p.m. ET Friday. Canada is 6-9 all time against Mexico. Last year, Whalley Little League from Canada defeated Matamoros Little League from Mexico 6-4 in an elimination game.
Fun fact: This is Canada’s 63rd appearance in the Little League World Series, the most by an international team.
Caribbean: Pabao Little League
Location: Willemstad, Curacao
Scouting report: Pabao Little League from Curacao will be appearing in the Little League World Series for the first time since 2009 and the ninth time overall. Only Arabian American LL from Saudi Arabia (18) and Coquivacoa LL from Venezuela (10) have more LLWS appearances. … Pabao Little League went 6-0 in regional play and beat Pariba Little League, also from Curacao, in the regional final. … This year’s team will have a familiar name: Jurdrick Profar, who will be the third Profar brother to play in the LLWS. Jurickson Profar, now an infielder for the Oakland A’s, won a Little League World Series title playing for Pabao Little League back in 2004 (and was on the runner-up team in 2005). Juremi, a minor leaguer in the Texas Rangers organization, played in the LLWS in 2007 and 2008. … Curacao kicks off the LLWS with a matchup against Australia at 1 p.m. ET Thursday. These two countries have met just once in the LLWS: Australia beat Curacao in 2016.
Fun fact: The Profars are the second trio of brothers to play in the LLWS. (The Hill brothers from Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores LL in Michigan were the first).
Europe-Africa: Emilia Little League
Location: Emilia, Italy
Scouting report: Emilia Little League will represent the Europe-Africa Region in Williamsport for the fourth time. It most recently made it to the LLWS in 2017, when Italy went 0-3 in tournament play. … Italy is 1-11 all time in the LLWS. Its only win in the LLWS came in its first game back in 1979 (when Italy defeated Canada). Aviano Air Force Base Little League represented Italy that year, fielding a team of children of U.S. Air Force personnel. … Emilia outscored its four opponents in regionals 27-7. It shut out the Netherlands in a tightly contested regional final 1-0. … A European country has never reached the LLWS Championship Game. In fact, only two European countries have reached the International Championship Game: Italy in 1979 and Germany in 1993. … Italy will open the LLWS against Japan on Friday. It will be the first time the two will meet in the LLWS.
Fun fact: Emilia is a region in northern Italy, south of Venice and Milan and north of Florence. The world’s most famous type of prosciutto (Prosciutto di Parma) is native to the region. The region is the home of several luxury automotive brands: Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Ducati all either were founded or are currently headquartered there.
Japan: Chofu Little League
Location: Chofu City, Tokyo
Scouting report: Chofu is making its third Little League World Series appearance. In 2016, Chofu lost its first two games to Canada and Curaçao before winning a consolation game against Texas and finishing with a 1-2 record in the tournament. It was the second time that a team from Japan lost its first two games of a Little League World Series. … Chofu Little League won all four of its games in the Japan Region tournament while outscoring its opponents 37-1. … Japan has won five of the past nine Little League World Series titles, with its most recent coming in 2017 (Tokyo Kitasuna Little League). … Koji Yamashita is in his 19th year as a Little League coach. He has coached with Makoto Nagase for 18 years. … Chofu will open the LLWS at 2 p.m. ET Friday against Italy. Japan has never faced Italy in the LLWS. … Japan has won 25 of its past 26 LLWS openers. Its lone loss during that span was in 2016, when Chofu fell to Canada.
Fun fact: In 1976, Chofu won the Little League World Series while outscoring its opponents 39-3 and allowing just three hits in three games. Makoto Nagase — who is a coach for Japan this year — was a catcher for that team. Nagase was also a coach in 2016, which means he has been in Williamsport for all three of Chofu’s appearances.
Latin America: Cacique Mara Little League
Location: Cacique Mara Little League Maracaibo, Venezuela
Scouting report: Cacique Mara dropped its second game at the Latin American regional tournament before rebounding to win four straight elimination games. It went 5-1, outscoring opponents 39-10. … Cacique Mara is making its first Little League World Series appearance. This is the 15th time that a team from the city of Maracaibo is heading to Williamsport. All other Venezuelan cities have accounted for six appearances in Williamsport: Barquisimeto (two), Valencia (two), Altagracia (one) and Maracay (one). … Venezuela is appearing in the LLWS for the 21st time and the fourth time in the past six years. Venezuela’s 21 appearances are the most by a team from the current Latin America region. … Venezuela and Panama are the only teams from the Latin America Region to reach the LLWS since the field expanded to 16 regions in 2001. This will be Venezuela’s 12th appearance in that span. Panama has made seven.
Fun fact: Teams from Venezuela have won the Little League World Series twice: in 1994, when the team featured current A’s pitcher Yusmeiro Petit, and in 2000, the last time a team from the Latin America region won the title.
Mexico: Epitacio “Mala” Torres Little League
Location: Guadalupe, Mexico
Scouting report: Epitacio “Mala” Torres Little League will represent the Mexico Region in Williamsport for the first time. The league went 6-1 in regional play and beat last year’s LLWS representative, Matamoros Little League, twice over the course of the tournament, including in the title game. … This is the fifth time a team from Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon, has reached the LLWS. In 1997, Guadalupe Linda Vista Little League beat South Mission Viejo Little League from California in the title game. That was the last time a team from Mexico won the LLWS. … Mexico has reached the international championship five times since Matamoros LL reached the title game in 2008. All five of those teams lost. … Mexico has received an automatic berth in the Little League Baseball World Series since the tournament expanded to 16 teams in 2001. Prior to 2001, Mexico was part of the Latin American Region. … Mexico opens LLWS play against Canada at 6 p.m. ET Friday. Mexico holds a 9-6 advantage in 15 previous LLWS matchups.
Fun fact: In 1957 and 1958, a team from Monterey, the capital city of Nuevo Leon, became the first non-U.S. team to win a championship banner and the first league in the history of the Little League Baseball World Series to win back-to-back championships. Angel Macias, who pitched with both his left and right hands, threw a perfect game to win the 1957 Little League World Series. It’s still the only perfect game in LLWS title game history.