Japan won the 2012 Little League World Series Yesterday. They played outstanding; all facets of their game are on par with college play.
Panama played them twice and lost both times. Panama came in fourth.
The major difference I witnessed between the teams was the depth of the pitching. Japan had four pitchers that could hurl the ball at Major League equivalent speeds with excellent accuracy. They also had a player that stood 6 foot tall and weighed over 200 pounds. That’s size large for a 13 yr old. If he grows anymore he’ll be able to be a Sumo Wrestler.
All this being said, the Panama team came from AguaDulce; an interior farming community with just a few thousand in population. They were outstanding. The Japanese team came from Tokyo; a city with a population of around ten million. The disparity of population makes one wonder…
The darling of the World Series event was the team that came from Uganda. Those youngsters had only 2 years experience at best. Shoot, some of them didn’t even have shoes.
Baseball has always been popular in Panama. I remember learning the game from professionals when I lived here as a kid. Little League was introduced to Panama and the Canal Zone in 1955. I was too old to participate but my younger brother was able to learn the sport through that organization. I played on a league called the Fastlich league. It was for kids 14 thru 18. We had several teams from the Canal Zone and we played teams from Panama City, Colon, and one team from the interior. Our coaches were all seasoned players from the Yankee farm system.