The LLWS is without a doubt my favorite sporting event of the year every single year. That’s right, ill take the week and a half in August over March Madness or the Super Bowl. It’s everything that makes baseball exciting; tense moments, home runs, errors, massive comebacks, strikeouts and truly dominant individual performances. In honor of that let’s dive into the top 10 moments, players, games and teams of the past decade.
2006 LLWS: One Fucking Run! Video
2007 LLWS: Robbed Walk Off Home Run Video
2008 LLWS: Andrew Yacyk hits one to the moon (side note: This Louisiana team has to go down as one of the greatest teams to never win the LLWS, I still remember finding out they had lost that US title game and being totally stunned) Video
2009 LLWS: Japan vs. Curacao, still remember watching this game instead of doing my summer reading the night before I started High School Video
2010 LLWS: This year sucked
2011 LLWS: Introducing Hagan Danner. Get to know this kid if your favorite MLB team has a top 10 draft pick next year. 2011 was just the start Video
2012 LLWS: Kotaro Kiyomiya just pisses on a couple baseballs, skip to 6:25 for two of the longest dingers you will see in the LLWS Video
2013 LLWS: Chad Lorkowski, Swag Daddy. A true legend. Also his stupid hat always fell off
2014 LLWS: Dave Belisle speech Video
2015 LLWS: Terrance Gist just shits on a ball Video
And now the top 10
- Kyle Carter, P, Southeast, 2006
This is a personal favorite of mine, as 2006 was the first year I really followed the LLWS as my 10 year old team had won State and I had dreams of one day playing in the LLWS myself. Carter was just an absolute beast, a lefty who was firing it high 70’s with a sideways hat. Carter mowed down batters the entire tournament, culminating in a 6 inning, 3 hit, 1 run, 11 strikeout masterpiece to win the title.
Where is he now: I’m going to try and save the youthful innocence this piece is probably bringing and just say it has gone downhill for Kyle. Google at your own risk.
- Chula Vista’s 2009 Team.
This team just mashed. 6’3 monster Luke Ramirez led the way, but guys like Kiko Garcia and Andy Rios led to a lineup that top to bottom just murdered the baseball. This was easily one of the most dominant teams to win the series during the past decade (they actually went 2-1 in pool play, but those two wins were tidy 15-0 and 14-0 wins). They then played in one of the better games of the past 10 years in a 11-10 walk-off wild pitch win over Georgia, crushed Texas 12-2 in the US final and topped Asia-Pacific 6-3 in the finals. A truly dominant team.
Where are they now: Luke Ramirez was a pretty big product of early puberty so you shouldn’t be stunned he’s not in the MLB, but star player Kiko Garcia has gone on to play at Pepperdine, which is pretty cool.
- Griffin McLarty shuts down a city, 2011, Great Lakes.
Remember the 2011 Mid-Atlantic team from Keystone, PA? Their games brought crowds never seen before, topping out in the 30,000’s!!!! of fans. These games were downright wild. Anyways, their run to the U.S Semifinals actually started with a loss, as Griffin McLarty stepped on the mound under the lights in primetime and silenced the entire crowd. It was a truly remarkable performance, as McLarty went the full 6 innings striking out 12 and only giving up 5 hits to lead his squad to a 1-0 win. That 1 run? A solo HR from Griffin himself. The real shame was that ended up being Great Lakes’ only win, and McLarty’s only time on the bump. Still quite the memorable performance.
Where is he now: Signed to pitch at the College of Charleston. Well done.
- Dalton Carriker Walk-Off Home Run, 2007, Southeast
Easily one of the lasting images of the LLWS, a true no brainer addition to the list. Brent Musberger screaming “its over, Georgia wins it!” still gives me the chills. I’ll just leave you with the link Video
Where is he now: Ended up playing ball at Wallace State, seems like a pretty solid career of baseball for him.
- 2013 New England Team (Westport, CT)
This team played two instant classics so I just decided to list the team. New England is generally one of the worst teams in the series every year, so their run to the US Final was fun in its own right, but these games! First they squared off with California, the typical goliath of the LLWS, and their mighty 6’4 ace Grant Holman in a matchup of 2-0 teams. Holman was coming off a no hitter and seemed completely overpowering. Instead, CT played their tails off, with ace Chad Knight keeping things close until pinch hitter Matt Brown hit one of the most unlikely, emotional homers in recent history, taking Holman deep to RF. Sadly CT had to pull Knight in the 6th, blew the lead, and ended up losing 6-3 in 9 innings, but man I will never forget that Matt Brown HR. They then came back to play Washington in a matchup of 2-1 teams for the right to play California in the US Finals and oh boy was it a game. Down 13-6 in the 5th, CT came storming back to tie it up at 13 by dropping a 7 spot in the 5th, and won it on a Chad Knight walk off in the 7th. It was everything great about the LLWS, emotion, runs, and crazy comebacks. I mean even this Sports Center highlight clip of it is tension packed. Chad Knight easily goes down as one of the best 10 players of the last 10 years.
14-13 Win Video
Game vs. Cali (start at 2:48, might want too mute the music) Video
- 2015 Pennsylvania US Title
Anytime a team challenges the throne of West and Southeast it’s fun as these two regions have totally dominated the last 10 years, producing every single US champion between 2005-2014* (JRW really took home the 2014 title but on paper West gets the credit). 2015 brought us Lewisberry, PA, who finally ended that run by homering their way into the 2015 LLWS Championship game. Lewisberry had a damn student section in RF, won their first game 18-0, and were led by man-child Cole Wagner, who hit moonshoots way up the hill and threw high 70’s. Their most memorable game is probably their 9-8 win over Taylors, SC in their 2nd round matchup. A true clash of the titans, Southeast was without 6 foot ace Alex Edmondson who had thrown a no hitter the game before, but clawed their way back from an early deficit to take the lead heading into the bottom of the 6th. Lucky for Lewisberry their bats still had a few more clutch hits, as they walked it off in the bottom of the 6th and made it all the way to the LLWS final, losing 18-11 to Japan in a game that made you really question 225 foot fences.
Here is a link to the end of that SC game. I remember delaying going out to the bars I was so into that one.
- Garrett Williams, 2007, Southwest.
I do not say this lightly, this right here is the GOAT. Williams is hands down my favorite LLWS player of all time, I’m pretty sure he was my hero that summer. Armed with an 80 mph fastball Williams dominated on the mound like no pitcher before or after him. He wasn’t some 6 foot puberty monster whipping it 80 with no control, he was just a 12 year old with a truly incredible arm. He was a dominant force I don’t know we will ever see again. In one of the great shames in LLWS history, Williams was used in the US Semi-Finals as Texas fell down early, and couldn’t pitch in the US final vs. Dalton Carriker’s Georgia squad. While we were robbed of Williams in the LLWS final, he did put up a nice 5 2/3 inning, 14 K performance in their 1-0 win over Curaco in the consolation final. What an amazing talent. Also on a personal note the 2007 LLWS was the greatest of all time, never been more enthralled by a sporting event than I was for that one.
Where is he now: Just got scooped up 7th round by the Giants after 3 years at Oklahoma State.
- California vs. Tennessee, US Final, 2012
The Final score of this game was 24-16. Let that sink in. Sitting here and giving you the blow by blow won’t do this one justice, just a game you truly had to watch to even believe what happened. Enjoy
- Mo’ne Davis, 2014
Honestly for almost anyone else she is probably checking at #1 on this list, she is easily the single most famous LLWS player of the past 10 years, it’s not even a debate. Davis’ legend is really only even approached by Danny Almonte, and her dominance on the mound was real, she was actually 12. Davis was actually a blast to watch too, she mixed speeds, quick pitched, and pretty much did anything she could to get hitters out. Mo’ne Davis was simply a star, and yet she was only the 2nd biggest story of the 2014 LLWS.
- Jackie Robinson West, 2014
No team, not even Danny Almonte’s 2001 squad, will ever match the hoopla around the 2014 Great Lakes Representative Jackie Robinson West from right here in Chicago. For most reading this piece, JRW was no newcomer in 2014, as they had previously knocked of Western Springs teams in the past and were frequent state title winners. However, the public eye had never seen this all-black team from the Southside of Chicago, and were completely captivated. Their combination of a heart-warming backstory and incredible baseball ability made them the team of the last decade of Little League baseball. Between Ed Howard’s play at SS, their legendary US Title Game, Pierce Jones’ 3 HR Game, Jahiem Benton being homeless, their frantic baserunning and Trey Hondras’ clutch hitting JRW truly had it all. As we saw with #10 on this list, not every story has a happy ending. JRW was eventually popped for pretty blatantly cheating, and that will sadly forever be their lasting memory. Also not to shit on a 14 year old, but DJ Butler was low-key the worst LLWS player of all time. Here is a link to that incredible US Title game I’m sure everyone remembers watching (College orientation weekend, watched in my new dorm room with my Mom).
What Did I Miss?