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The defending Junior League world champions from Taoyuan, Chinese Taipei, and the USA East champs from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, have punched their tickets to the International and USA championship games, respectively, during the Junior League Baseball World Series at Taylor’s Heritage Park.
The Asia-Pacific all-stars – who are seeking the fifth straight world title for their nation in the 13- and 14-year-old division of Little League International – will play for the International title at 3 p.m. Saturday. Their opponent will be the winner of the Venezuela-Australia game set for 4 p.m. today (Thursday).
The KMA Little League junior all-stars out of Pennsylvania will play for the USA championship at 6 p.m. Saturday against the winner of the California-North Carolina game scheduled for 7 o’clock tonight.
Only five games – and six teams – are left in the running for the world championship. All games are played on World Series Field at Heritage Park, 12111 Pardee Road. Admission is $5 per carload per game, which includes parking.
4 PM Maracaibo, Venezuela (Latin America champions) vs. Sydney, Australia
7 PM Rutherford County, North Carolina (USA Southeast) vs. Encinitas, California (USA West)
Reserved for consolation crossover games
3 PM International Championship Game: Taoyuan City, Chinese Taipei (Asia-Pacific champion) vs. Venezuela or Australia
6 PM USA Championship Game: Kennett Square, Pennsylvania (USA East) vs. North Carolina or California
Noon World Championship Game
The final game will be broadcast live on ESPN2. All other games can be viewed on the JLWS’ popular streaming video system with play by play on the website www.ustream.tv/channel/jlws.
The international tournament has been played in a “modified double-elimination” format with USA and International pools. Once a team loses twice, it is out of contention. When the World Series is down to the final four teams, it becomes a single-elimination event.
The Junior League Baseball World Series is for the best teams of 13- and 14-year-old players from around the globe. Each team must win a national and/or regional tournament to qualify to travel to Taylor, where the series has been played since its inception in 1981.
The JLWS is the “older brother” to the more famous Little League World Series, an event for 12-year-olds played annually in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Wednesday was the fourth day of the JLWS, which started last Sunday. Two teams, Europe-Africa champion Czech Republic and USA Southwest champ Texas – suffered their second losses and were eliminated from competition. They join teams from Michigan (USA Central champ) and the national champions of Puerto Rico and Canada.
Weather-permitting, today’s crossover game schedule includes Yabucoa, Puerto Rico vs. Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada at 10 a.m. and North Saginaw, Michigan vs. Brno, Czech Republic at 12:30 p.m.
Here are recaps of Wednesday’s games:
Sydney, Australia 10, Brno, Czech Republic (Europe/Africa) 6
The Hills Little League junior all-stars from Sydney, Australia won their second straight game in the Junior League Baseball World Series, defeating Brno, Czech Republic, 10-6. The national champs of Australia (2-1) advance to a must-win 4 p.m. Thursday game against Venezuela. The loss was the second for the Europe/Africa champs from Czech Republic (1-2), which is eliminated from contention. Brent Iredale went 2-for-4, scored two runs and knocked in a pair for the winners. Liam McCallum was 2-for-3, scored twice and had two RBI. Winning pitcher Alessandro Ranieri was 2-for-3, scored a run and knocked in one. Andrew Martin had two RBI. One of Brent’s hits was a home run. He has the distinction of also hitting a homer in last year's Little League World Series. The team from the Hills also pulled off three double plays. For Czech Republic, Milan Prokop went 2-for-2 and scored a run, Ondrej Sebela was 2-for-3 with a run and three RBI and Lukas Maly was 2-for-4 and scored a run.
Encinitas, California (USA West) 11, Abilene, Texas (USA Southwest) 3
Encinitas, California eliminated Abilene, Texas from contention in the World Series. The 11-3 win by the USA West champions avenged a 12-8 loss to Texas on Sunday. California was led by pitcher Brady Burger, who held Texas to three runs in 6 1/3 innings. Brady also was 3-for-3 with an RBI. Teammate Sean Alvarez was 3-for-3 and had four runs batted in, including a two-run home run -- his third dinger of the World Series. Julian Nunez scored three times and knocked in two runs. California (2-1) plays at 7 p.m. Thursday against North Carolina. Texas (1-2), the USA Southwest champ, heads to the consolation crossover round. Riley Hood knocked in two of Texas' runs with a double in the first inning. He had two of Texas' seven hits.
Taoyuan City, Chinese Taipei (Asia-Pacific) 9, Maracaibo, Venezuela (Latin America) 2
For the fifth year in a row, an Asia-Pacific champion from Chinese Taipei has qualified to play for the International championship, this time at 3 p.m. Saturday. In 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, Chinese Taipei teams have not only won the International title, but went on to become world champions. They also won the World Series in 2010 and finished runner-up in 2011. This time, the Asia-Pacific champs remained undefeated (3-0) by beating the Latin America champions from Venezuela, 9-2. Chun Hao Chao and Tzu Yu Tseng combined on a five-hitter and had a 9-0 shutout going until Venezuela scored twice in the bottom of the seventh. Chi Che Huang went 3-for-4 and scored three runs for the winners. Hao Yu Lee had a three-run homer in his team’s five-run fourth inning. Yi Hsiang Lin and Hsiang Chang also had two hits apiece. Beycker Barraso and Samuel Castillo had two hits each for Venezuela. To earn a rematch with Chinese Taipei, the Venezuela must defeat Australia in today’s 4 p.m. game. Both teams are 2-1.
Kennett Square, Pennsylvania (USA East) 5, Rutherford County, North Carolina 2
Dan Kane’s two-run double in the first inning and solo homer in the sixth led the KAU Little League junior stars from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania to a 5-2 win over Rutherford County, North Carolina. The win left the USA East champions as the only undefeated team (2-0) in the USA Pool and propelled them to the USA championship game at 6 p.m. Saturday. The loss was the first for the USA Southeast champs from North Carolina (1-1). To get to the USA title game for a rematch with Pennsylvania, Rutherford County must defeat the USA West champions from Encinitas, California (2-1) at 7 p.m. Thursday. Pennsylvania had just four hits off North Carolina pitchers. Ben Hodge hurled four innings of perfect baseball until Kane’s home run. Kennett Square pitchers Scott Hansen and Louis Sharp combined on a five-hitter and five strikeouts. Rutherford lead-off man Kael Snethen was 2-for-4.
For more information about the World Series, visit the website www.cityoftaylor.com/worldseries. The World Series has an active Facebook page, www.facebook.com/juniorleagueworldseries. Also, follow the series on Instagram @jlws_taylor.