With "The Perfect Game," first-time screenwriter W. William Winokur tells the story of Mexico's Monterrey Industrials, the first foreign baseball team to win the Little League World Series in 1957. A bunch of players a good couple sizes smaller than their opponents, the team literally walked across the border to their first game, expecting to lose and go home, but instead kept winning all the way to the championships. The pitcher would go on to throw a perfect game in the final and to this day remains the only pitcher to do so in a Little League World Series championship game.
Winokur's script often tries to juggle too much as the tournament, the discrimination the team faced as they played across the South, their coach's personal troubles, a budding romance, a player's conflict with his father, and a spunky news-writer all fight for space.
Director William Dear, who had previously directed the baseball-themed "Angels in the Outfield" and "The Sandlot 3," seems, not surprisingly, most comfortable shooting the ballgames, keeping them moving briskly. "The Perfect Game" is an imperfect film, but an unusual case in which the heart of both the story and its telling do help in smoothing over other deficiencies, sweet and disarming in its belief that something like a baseball game can make a bigger difference.