Little League World Series 2011: Why California Is the Great American Hope

California Stomps Rhode Island in Opening Game of Little League World Series

Things didn't go according to plan for Rhode Island in the opening game of the Little League World Series, but California got exactly what they were looking for with an 11-0 victory.

The California bats were alive and in rare form, while the pitching was incredible. The California staff pitched a six inning shutout and the team came up just short of winning in the fifth inning via the mercy rule.

Japan proved yesterday that they were the favorites to win this tournament when they stomped Aruba by a score of 12-1. With that victory, a US team had to make their case today. California did just that when they shutout a Rhode Island team who was hitting the ball very well coming into this tournament.

California proved they have what it takes to compete with Japan, however, they will need to continue to prove that throughout the remaining games in the US bracket.

There is still a long way to go to prove they are the best team, and a team like Louisiana or Montana could very easily prove to be a tough task for California. They will have to go without their best pitcher today who must rest two days due to his pitch count, but his services will be available for their third game.

California is just four games away from winning the Little League Word Series, and this team looks like they are quickly becoming the "Great American Hope."

Stay Tuned to Bleacher Report's Baseball Page for all the latest news and analysis from the Little League World Series.

—Matt Faulconer

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