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Ten players to keep an eye on at the World Series

Moments after taking a pitch off his head, Oklahoma’s Isaiah Jarvis approached the mound. This was not the Major Leagues and he was not looking for a fight. He was a friend; a sportsman providing comfort.

When Jarvis noticed the Pearland, Texas pitcher taking things hard, he assured him that the pitch did no damage and that he was fine. Jarvis embraced the pitcher, encouraged him and the game went on. Jarvis will not be playing at the Little League World Series, but his display of humanity sent a powerful message about how positive youth sports can be. Expect to see similar excellent actions at Lamade and Volunteer Stadiums over the next 11 days.

Oh yeah, expect to see a lot of great plays, super pitching and big hits. It all starts today, and the following is a look at 10 U.S. players to watch as the games begin.

CHRISTIAN BEKIERS, NEW YORK

One of the best hitters at Bristol, Connecticut, Bekiers put on a hitting clinic while helping Massapequa reach the Series for the first time. Bekiers was retired just once in the first two Metro Regional games and hit safely in all three. He hit .700 at regionals, doubled, scored three times and drove in two. He helped set the tone in each game as New York won three hard-fought contests. Bekiers also was smooth in the field, playing error-less defense and earned two wins on the mound. The versatile weapon struck out six in 4 1/3 innings and came up big with three gutsy innings against Connecticut in which Bekiers struck out six batters.

BO DANIEL, TENNESSEE

One of the best hitters at the Southeast Regional, Daniel helped ignite the offense as Tennessee repeated as champions. A powerful presence in the middle of the lineup, Daniels hit .500 in Warner Robins with all five of his hits going for extra bases. Daniel slugged a home run and a had a big performance in a winner’s bracket final victory against Georgia before adding a double in the final against Virginia. He finished regionals with three doubles, a triple, a home run, six RBIs and four runs. Daniel was equally impressive in the field, not making an error in those four wins. The 12-year-old delivered two multi-hit performances and has helped Tennessee win nine straight games.

CALEB DETRICK, PENNSYLVANIA

The Mid-Atlantic champions feature several boppers and produced 31 runs and 32 hits in four games at regionals. Detrick was one of those players who helped establish the offensive prowess, hitting a whopping .750. Detrick wore out opposing pitching staffs, going 9 for 12 and reaching base 10 times. He hit safely in all four games and delivered three multi-hit performances. That included Detrick going 4 for 4 with a home run, double and four RBIs in a 7-3 championship win against previously undefeated Delaware. Detrick produced RBIs in each of Pennsylvania’s last three games and also is an effective defender who did not make an error and who helped turn a double play.

KADEN HALL, INDIANA

Whatever he was doing at the Great Lakes Regional tournament, Hall was going it well. He stood out most as a dominant pitcher, but also provided key hits and played perfect defense at shortstop, catcher and pitcher. The hard-throwing right-hander overpowered Michigan and Kentucky, earning the wins in the games which sent Indiana to the championship. Hall went 2-0, surrendering just two hits and not allowing a run in 8 1/3 superb innings. Hall struck out 17, including 12 in a one-hit complete-game gem against runner-up Kentucky in the winner’s bracket final. Hall then smashed a two-run home run in the championship rematch, giving his team an early spark and a 2-0 lead. Hall produced a .364 on-base percentage at regionals and scored a run in each game.

KOLBY LAMEROUX, UTAH

The player they call “Chops,” certainly took a bite out of the competition at the Mountain Regional, helping Santa Clara, Utah become the first from its state to ever reach the Series. Lameroux came up huge in the championship, crushing a home run and driving in five runs as Utah defeated Nevada, 7-3. Lameroux put Utah ahead to stay with a clutch three-run home run and closed his tournament, hitting .429 with six RBIs. He also was part of an impressive comeback in the winner’s bracket final when Utah rallied from a late three-run deficit to win. A standout third baseman, Lameroux did not make an error, helping Utah enter the Series undefeated.

JARON LANCASTER, HAWAII

One of the country’s premier pitchers, Lancaster also provides an offensive spark and overwhelmed opponents while helping Honolulu repeat as West champions. Lancaster went 2-0 in San Bernadino, striking out a U.S.-high 20 batters in 10 innings. Throwing a fastball that reaches the mid-70s and mixing in a curve, Lancaster produced a 0.60 ERA, limiting opponents to five hits. He threw 5 2/3 innings of four-hit baseball in the championship win against Arizona and stifled California in the opener, fanning 12 in 4 1/3 innings when he recorded all but one out via strikeout. The 5-foot-10 slugger can tag the ball as well and crushed a long home run against Northern California while finishing regionals with five RBIs. He added a double and scored twice.

JAYDEN MURPHY, MASSACHUSETTS

Another five-tool threat, Murphy shined throughout the New England regional, but especially in two straight elimination games. Murphy provided an offensive jolt and some stellar pitching as Middleboro became the first team from its state since 2009 to reach the Series. He homered in consecutive days against New Hampshire and Maine as Massachusetts rallied through the loser’s bracket and finished his tournament hitting .429 with five extra-base hits, four RBIs and five runs. Murphy, who produced a hit in each game, was equally impressive on the mound. There, he went 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA, surrendering just three hits in 9 1/3 innings and striking out 18. Murphy struck out nine in each game, including in the championship against Maine.

BRODY SANTMAN, WASHINGTON

When times are tough Washington can enter Santman. The 12-year-old has done a bit of everything to help Bonney Lake make its first Series appearance and especially shined at the Northwest regional. Santman led the team in hitting, batting .667 and hitting for a three-game cycle. Santman homered, tripled, doubled, drove in four runs and hit safely in all three games. He also gave runner-up Oregon fits in two victories, going 1-0 and not allowing an earned run. Santman scattered four hits in seven innings, striking out 16. He did not have his best stuff in the championship but produced three gutsy innings, fanning eight while giving Washington the chance to rally late and win, 3-2 in seven innings.

THEODORE SWANSON, IOWA

A reliable catcher who can also play third base, Swanson played one of his best games in the Midwest final and ignited the game-winning rally. Swanson went 3 for 3, scoring twice, hitting a lead-off single in the seventh inning and scoring the winning run in a dramatic 4-3 win against previously undefeated Missouri. It was an exclamation on an outstanding tournament in which Swanson hit .438 and drove in a team-high six runs. He also scored three times and was a rock behind the plate, making no errors. Swanson was excellent at blocking pitches in the dirt and is an all-around weapon. He smashed two doubles at regionals and also stole two bases.

JACOB ZUREK, TEXAS

A terrific lead-off hitter, Zurek helped ignite a powerful offense which produced 48 runs in four Southwest regional games. In addition to hitting a clutch, go-ahead, three-run double in the championship against Oklahoma, Zurek also hit safely in each game and compiled a .588 on-base percentage. Zurek hit .500 with a home run, three doubles, seven RBIs and six runs. He also produced three multi-hit games and doubled in each of his last three contests. Zurek made no errors and also provided valuable depth on the mound. There, he went 1-0, earning the win against Arkansas while striking out four in two scoreless innings, helping Texas stay undefeated this summer.

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