Little League World Series 2011: 3 Things We’ve Learned in 1st Round

While the Little League World Series is really just beginning, a few things have become obvious. There has been enough on-field action that favorites have emerged, and a tone for this tournament has been set. Here are three of the things I have learned so far.

California Looks Like the Class of the American Side

California has the talent to win a game in every way there is to win a baseball game.

They put their pitching, defense and small ball that was on display in their opening game of the Little League World Series as they dismantled Rhode Island, 11-0. Braydon Salzman was at the center of Ocean View's success in this contest. He was the winning pitcher, and was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate.

Ocean View compiled all of their 11 runs without the aid of a single home run, but they certainly have the power to jack them. They also have the pitching to win it all. Salzman isn't even this team's ace. That honor belongs to Hagen Danner.

Japan May Be Unbeatable

Hamamatsu Minami (Japan) has been cruising. They have been beating opponents so badly they haven't been tested. They dominated Aruba in their opener. And they blew away everyone in the Japan Regional this year.

Hamamatsu Minami didn't just go undefeated, they rolled their opponents in this one. They scored an 11-1 victory over Koshigaya from Koshigaya City, Japan, in the semifinal contest and then defeated from Yokohama, Japan, 14-3, in the championship game.

Little League World Series is a Blast

Chances are, if you are reading this article, you probably already knew this. But it seems that every year I tune into this event just how refreshing and fun this tournament is. It presents an entirely different way to view sports. 

I don't find myself questioning the effort of anyone on the field. I don't get upset at the errors or the mental lapses. And this leaves me free to root for good plays and a good experience for the participants.

And while there is certainly the heartache of losing, more than anything this tournament is about joy. These kids are out there having the time of their lives and that joy is infectious.  

Stay Tuned to Bleacher Report's Baseball Page for all the latest news and analysis from around the sport.

—Richard Langford

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