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Best moments of the LLWS: Thrills, chills and a wild ride down the hill

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The story behind an emotional Little League home run (3:09)

Iowa 1B JT Garcia hit an emotional home run while his mother, Jen Garcia, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, was being interviewed in the stands. (3:09)

The 2016 Little League World Series was filled with big drama: a homer that lifted an ailing mom's spirits, a heartfelt father-son handoff on the mound, festive and fun-loving fans. We asked some of the folks who had front-row seats for all the action -- on and off the field -- in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, to weigh in with their favorite LLWS memories.

A home run for mom

My favorite moment of the 2016 LLWS has to be when I interviewed Iowa first baseman JT Garcia's mom, Jen, who is battling pancreatic cancer. She made the trip to Williamsport in between her chemo treatments. As I was asking her about how the team has rallied around her, JT hit a home run to give his team a 4-1 lead over California. It was a magical moment that had the entire section in tears, including me. Believe it or not, it's not the first time I've been interviewing a family member as his or her son hit a home run. This was actually the third time! That said, given the circumstances and the emotion, this was definitely the most special of them all. It's a moment I will never forget, and I hope Jen wins her battle with this horrible disease. --Jaymee Sire

A game that translates in any language

My favorite part of the LLWS was seeing how the game of baseball is taught and learned in a variety of ways all over the world. We can all remember how we first learned the game, and to see the development of these boys and girls gave me a real sense of how uniquely this beautiful game is translated in all parts of the world. Yet, many of the results are the same: getting your barrel to meet the ball, throwing a pitch to the outside corner and wearing the biggest grin on your face for no real reason other than you are 11 years old and playing a game that you love. I absolutely enjoyed getting to see and experience my first LLWS! -- Jessica Mendoza

An unforgettable father-son exchange

My favorite moment came during Monday's consolation game between Oregon and Italy. The Oregon coach, Joel Jensen, came out to talk to his pitcher -- who is also his son, Isaiah. Dad started the mound visit by saying, "Hey, I love you." It was a touching moment that reminded me very much of coaching my own son, Corey. It was also a great way of cutting through the pressure that goes along with playing at the LLWS on ESPN and in front of a huge crowd. Jensen's comment broke through the hoopla and was just a really cool father-and-son moment that Joel and Isaiah will be able to share for the rest of their lives. -- Jay Crawford

Mexico's festive fans

The spirit with which the team from Mexico plays is, in a word, fun. Yes, they're a powerhouse, and yes, their bats have been hot. Their pitching is among the best here in Williamsport. It's clear: Beisbol courses through their veins. If they feel any pressure, it must be on the inside, because they make it look fun: from the sign the players made and hung in the dugout to remind them of how resilient they are, to the 38-hour drive half their family members took just to get to Williamsport, to the two fans who stand on the hill proudly holding the Mexican flag while their countrymen play. While there are actual brothers on the team -- Patricio and Victor Juarez -- these 14 boys and their coaches are a family. You can't not smile when you're around this team. --Marysol Castro

You're never too old to go over the hill

Sliding down the hill that's beyond the outfield fence at Lamade Stadium is a ritual unique to the Little League World Series. Kids grab cardboard, throw caution to the wind and slide down at warp speed. My favorite memory of this Little League World Series is not only seeing Tim Kurkjian show Jessica Mendoza how to slide -- and then watch her ignore his advice and go down headfirst twice -- but also witnessing the adventures of Dallas Braden. Dallas treated the cardboard as a skateboard and motored down before nearly meeting disaster, but then he deftly stole another kid's cardboard to ride to safety and victory. This tournament is the Little League World Series, but that was a big league maneuver -- and a reminder to all of us to unleash our inner child whenever we can. --Adnan Virk

The kids are all right

My favorite moment of the LLWS was having two kids from the Kentucky team, Devin Obee and John Guthrie, in the booth for an inning during a consolation game. The kids were remarkably poised, especially Guthrie, who explained, among other things, his interest in stock trading. Devin was very enlightening about being the son of a former NFL player, Terry Obee, and how his father has advised him not to play football until he gets older because it's not necessary, or helpful, to play the game at age 12 or younger. We put the kids in a very difficult position, and they handled it beautifully. --Tim Kurkjian