After a thrilling five days of pool play at the Little League Softball® World Series (LLSWS) in Greenville, North Carolina, the championship round will get underway on Monday, August 16, with three days of games to determine who will bring the Championship Banner home to their community.
This year, the two LLSWS playing pools were named after icons of the game, National Softball Hall of Famers and Team USA Olympic gold medalists, Jennie Finch and Jessica Mendoza. After conclusion of pool play competition, the Virginia State Champion, Chesterfield Little League finished as the top seed in the Finch Pool and the Oklahoma State Champions, Green Country Little League from Muskogee, finished atop the Mendoza Pool.
“It’s very humbling for us (to win the Jessica Mendoza Pool Championship). It’s humbling for us just to be here, and what an honor it is to have her name on the pool that we’re fortunate enough to come out on top with,” said Johnny Hutchins, Oklahoma manager.
With three teams finishing 3-1 in the Jennie Finch pool, the Runs-Allowed Ratio was used to determine the seeding of the top three teams in the pool. The ratio is calculated using the total number of runs given up in all pool play games played by that team, divided by six innings per game. Virginia, allowing only six runs in their four games, was declared the Champion and number one seed. Finishing in second is Daniel Boone Little League from Columbia, Missouri, and in third, Robinson Little League from Texas. Rounding out the Finch pool teams advancing to the next phase of competition is the Arizona State Champion from Cactus Foothills Little League.
“You have so, so much to be proud of. Your communities, your families, are so incredibly proud of you guys,” said Finch in a video for the teams prior to the start of the tournament. “What a journey it has been. Now is the time to shine.”
In the Jessica Mendoza pool, the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds were determined by the Summerlin South Little League (Nevada) and Rowan Little League (North Carolina) matchup on the final day of pool play, with North Carolina winning the game and taking the No. 2 seed. Competing as the No. 4 seed for the Mendoza Pool is Robbinsville Little League from New Jersey.
“I am so proud of the fact that you have worked this hard, and now, just enjoy it,” said Mendoza in a video for the teams prior to the start of the tournament. “I know you guys want to win games, go and play your best, and you know that’s absolutely what you’re going to do. But these memories, this time, is what you’re going to take with you the rest of your lives.”
Of the eight local Little League teams competing for a shot at the World Series Championship, two have recent experience in winning it all, with New Jersey’s Robbinsville Little League winning the title in 2014 and the defending champions from North Carolina, Rowan Little League from Salisbury winning in 2017 and 2019.
The Little League Softball World Series will conclude with the Championship Game on Wednesday, August 18 at 5 p.m. on ESPN. The complete schedule, scores, results, videos, and more can be found at LittleLeague.org/WorldSeries.