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Stats Show Pitchers Lead the Way at the Plate in LLWS

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, PA – There are differences between the Little League Baseball World Series and professional baseball that go beyond younger participants and a field that’s two-thirds smaller.     

Unlike the professional level where pitchers bog down the lineup, if they even get to bat at all, pitchers tend to lead the offensive efforts in the Little League World Series.

With the most dominant of the young athletes pitching, their strength is often also apparent at the plate. 

There have been many two-way stars so far in this year’s World Series, something that is a common occurrence each August in Williamsport.       

Sometimes the winning pitcher is not just the guy who throws the hardest, but also the one who hits the hardest, too.   

Coaches Toolkit by GameChanger

By the end of the August 22 games, every team in the tournament had played two games and two eliminated teams had played in a third exhibition game.             

At that point, pitchers had not just kept up with the rest of the lineup at the plate, but had exceeded the production of position players.             

The first 17 winning pitchers had collectively put on a show at the plate. Here are their performances compared to the rest of the Little League World Series participants, including some numbers adjusted to per 100 at-bats for easier comparisons:

Winning Pitchers

Statistic(s)

All Other Batters

19/46

Hits/At Bats

176/737

.413

Batting Average

.239

15, 14

Runs, RBI

130, 96

4, 1, 6

Doubles, Triples, Homers

29, 7, 14

.935

Slugging Percentage

.354

32.6

Runs Per 100 AB

17.6

30.4

RBI Per 100 AB

13.0

8.7

Doubles Per 100 AB

3.9

2.2

Triples Per 100 AB

0.9

13.0

Homers Per 100 AB

1.9              

Offensive numbers tend to go up at this point in the Little League World Series as teams are forced to go deeper into their pitching staffs.            

Compared to statistics in the tournament to date, winning pitchers are nearly doubling the production of other batters in other categories, and producing home runs at nearly seven times the rate.              

That leads not only to a .413-.239 difference in batting average and a whopping .935-.354 discrepancy in slugging percentage, but also to the winning pitchers producing 50 runs per 100 at bats, compared to 28.7 by other hitters. Runs produced are found by adding runs and RBI and subtracting home runs.            

Dual threats like Maine-Endwell’s Ryan Harlost, part of the Mid-Atlantic Region champions that reached the August 24 U.S. and International bracket championships at 2-0, helped build those strong batting statistics by the winning pitchers.             

Harlost was the winning pitcher in Maine-Endwell’s opening 7-2 win over New England Region champion Warwick North, Rhode Island with five scoreless innings. In that game, he was 3-for-3 with a homer, triple, double and four RBI.          

Against Southeast Region champion Goodlettsville, Tennessee, Harlost hit the two-run home run that started the scoring, then got the last two outs for a save in the 3-1 victory over the 2012 U.S. champions.              

Harlost started the tournament 4-for-4 with two homers, a triple and a double, a 3.250 slugging percentage, even though he says his concentration is a little more on pitching when he’s on the mound.          

“Whenever I’m pitching, I mostly just focus on pitching, but I just try to do the best I can batting,” he said.            

Some of the other big duel, one-game efforts to date came from winning pitchers Loreto Siniscalchi from Hastings, Vancouver, Canada; Devin Obee from Bowling Green Eastern, Kentucky, Great Lakes; Gael Isaac Cortez from San Nicolas, Mexico; Wontae Cho from East Seoul, South Korea.            

Siniscalchi led the opening 10-4 upset of Chofu, Tokyo, Japan. He struck out 13 in 5 2/3 innings while going 2-for-4 with a homer and two runs.            

Obee threw a three-hitter with seven strikeouts and was 2-for-3 with a home and three runs scored in his team’s opener.            

Cortez struck out three while allowing just one hit and one unearned run to get a relief win in an elimination bracket game, the same game that he hit two homers to drive in three runs.           

The latest gem came from Cho in the International winners’ bracket semifinal as part of a combined one-hitter. He struck out six of seven batters he faced, issuing just a walk in two innings for the relief win while also leading the offense. He matched Harlost’s 3-for-3 effort of a homer, triple and double, except he only drove in two runs while scoring three.  

From GameChanger and Tom Robinson. Photo by Little League Baseball and Softball.

Baseball Stats & Scorekeeping, Baseball

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