The 2007 Little League World Series was a baseball tournament held August 17 through August 26 in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Eight teams from the United States and eight from throughout the world competed to decide the winner of the 61st installment of the Little League World Series. It was televised on ESPN, ESPN2, and ABC. On August 26, 2007 the USA champion from Warner Robins, Georgia defeated the international champion from Tokyo, Japan 3–2 in 8 innings (Little League regulation games are 6 innings) on a walk-off home run by Dalton Carriker to win the 2007 Little League World Series. This was the second straight year a team from Georgia won the championship after a team from Columbus, Georgia won in 2006.
The series was marked by dramatic finishes. The championship final was the third elimination game in this year's edition to end with a walk-off homer. In the international bracket, one of the semifinals ended with the team from Willemstad, Curaçao defeating the team from Maracaibo, Venezuela on a 3-run, come-from-behind walk-off shot in the 7th inning. The Curaçao team would be the victim of a come-from-behind walk-off grand slam in the international final two days later.
Games were held in the two stadiums located at Little League headquarters in South Williamsport:Howard J. Lamade Stadium — the main stadium, opened in 1959, with seating for 10,000 in the stands and hillside terrace seating for up to 30,000 more
Little League Volunteer Stadium — a newer facility, opened in 2001, that seats slightly over 5,000, primarily in the stands
Between five and sixteen teams competed in regional tournaments to progress to the Little League World Series, which varied from straight-knockout competitions (Japan) to the group/elimination format used in the United States. 2007 was the first year that Japan received its own regional playoff, with the Asia (Japan's former home) and Pacific regions merging to create the new Asia-Pacific group.Republic of China, commonly known as Taiwan, due to complicated relations with People's Republic of China, is recognized by the name Chinese Taipei by majority of international organizations including Little League Baseball (LLB). For more information, please see Cross-Strait relations.
The top two teams in each pool move on to their respective semifinals. The winners of each met on August 26 to play for the Little League World Championship. Teams marked in green qualified to the knockout stage, while teams marked in red were eliminated.
Ties are broken based on records in head-to-head competition among tied teams. In the event of a three-way tie for first place, the tie is broken by calculating the ratio of runs allowed to defensive innings played for all teams involved in the tie. The team with the lowest runs-per-defensive-inning ratio is ranked first and advances. Second place is determined by the head-to-head result of the other two teams. If the three-way tie is for 2nd place, the runs-per-defensive-inning ratio rule is used. The team with the lowest run ratio advances, the other two teams are eliminated.
All times US EDT
All times US EDT
For the first time, all 32 games of the tournament, from the opening pitch to the final out, were scheduled for a live telecast in the United States. All but one of the broadcasts were to be on either ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. (The remaining game, the August 19 Pabao vs. Arabian-American game, was to be shown online on ESPN360, then shown the next day on ESPN2, but the rebroadcast on ESPN2 was canceled and replaced by live coverage of the rain-delayed NASCAR 3M Performance 400, and part of the game was shown live on ESPN due to a rain delay in the scheduled St. Louis Cardinals-Chicago Cubs game). ABC was to have its most comprehensive coverage ever, with games on both weekend days in the preliminary rounds, as well as both semifinals and the championship game for a total of five games. ESPN had 15 games scheduled for broadcast, while ESPN2 had 11. A number of games (yet to be announced) were to be shown in high-definition.
The expanded coverage was part of a new eight-year contract between ESPN, Inc. and the Little League organization that started with this series.
No international broadcast plans were available, but possible outlets included ESPN International and TSN (Canada).
Although the Western region champion came from the Phoenix media market, its local affiliate, KNXV, did not show Chandler's first round-robin game on August 18. Instead, ESPN interrupted its normal feed on Cox Communications and other local cable providers to air the game live in that area. KNXV was then to show the game on tape delay at 4:30 p.m. local time. Similarly, the game was also not seen on KTRK-TV in Houston, ironically an owned and operated station. Both KTRK and KNXV instead showed the National Football League preseason game between the Houston Texans and the Arizona Cardinals.The 2007 Series was the first to feature a new rule limiting a pitcher to 85 pitches a game and extending rest periods. Little League Baseball hoped that the rule would diminish stress put on pitchers' arms. The rest requirements are as follows:85 pitches1 - Maximum allowed for a single game
61 or more pitches - Three calendar days of rest.
41–60 pitches - Two calendar days of rest.
21–40 pitches - One calendar day of rest.
20 pitches or fewer - No rest required.
1 If a pitcher reaches the limit while facing a batter, the pitcher may continue to pitch until that batter reaches base or is out.
The walk off home run by Dalton Carriker that won Warner Robins the LLWS was followed by the team coming over to embrace and comfort the losing Tokyo team. This event was given considerable press coverage and was considered a breath of fresh air in a summer that saw the spotlight focused on the misdoings of Michael Vick and Barry Bonds.
One of the players on the runner-up Tokyo Kitasuna team was reported to have contracted measles before coming to Williamsport. The player, whose identity was not made public, contracted the virus from a sibling back in Japan in late July and was infectious while traveling. As a result, six people across three states were infected. The boy directly infected four people: a friend from Japan, an airport officer in Detroit, a woman who sat near the boy on the flight from Detroit to Baltimore, and a sales representative in Pennsylvania. The man subsequently infected two Houston-area college students.
Two players on the Coon Rapids, Minnesota club reportedly spit on their hands following their elimination from the tournament during pool play. Upon hearing of the incident, which took place as they got ready to shake hands with the victorious Chandler, Arizona club and was televised throughout the US on ESPN, manager Mark Lowe apologized for the incident.
The Warner Robins American LL went undefeated on their road to the LLWS, winning all twelve of their games. In total record was 17–1, their only loss coming against Hamilton West Side LL (from Ohio).