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The 2017 International and United States champions of the Junior League Baseball World Series will be determined Saturday at Taylor’s Heritage Park.Only three games remain in the eight-day international tournament for the best teams of 13- and 14-year-old players from around the globe. Two games will be played Saturday. The winners advance to Sunday’s game for the world championship.SATURDAY’S SCHEDULENoon Home Run Derby3 PM International Championship Game: Taoyuan City, Chinese Taipei (Asia-Pacific champion) vs. Maracaibo, Venezuela (Latin America champion)6 PM USA Championship Game: Kennett Square, Pennsylvania (USA East champion) vs. Rutherford County, North Carolina (USA Southeast champion)SUNDAY’S SCHEDULENoon World Championship Game: International Champion vs. USA Champion
Heritage Park is located at 12111 Pardee Road. Admission is $5 per carload per day. Parking is free. Seating is general admission.If you can’t make it to Heritage Park, Saturday’s games will be presented on streaming video with play by play on the website www.ustream.tv/channel/jlws.Sunday’s game will be broadcast live on ESPN2.Here is a brief profile of the final four teams.TAOYUAN, CHINESE TAIPEI – Teams from Chinese Taipei have won the Junior League world championship the last four years, going 22-0 since 2013, and have been International champs seven of the eight years they have competed in Taylor. Teams from the Shing-Ming Junior Little League have played in the JLWS four times, winning the title in 2013 and 2016. This year’s team went 6-0 in the Asia-Pacific region in outscored opponents in the Asia-Pacific region, 97-0, with wins over Philippines, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Hong Kong. They have gone 3-0 thus far in the World Series, defeating Sydney, Australia, 11-0; Brno, Czech Republic, 15-0; and Venezuela, their opponents on Saturday, 9-2. That ended an 11-game shutout streak.MARACAIBO, VENEZUELA – This is the fifth appearance in the Junior League World Series for teams from Maracaibo and the second time in Taylor for teams from the San Francisco Little League. The last time was in 2001, when the kids from San Francisco went 4-1 to win the International title before falling, 6-5, to world champion Aiea, Hawaii. Teams from Venezuela have gone 18-6 in the JLWS, including 2-1 by the current squad. They are seeking their first world title in Taylor. In this year’s Latin America tournament in Guatemala City, Venezuela went 7-0, defeating the national champions of Mexico, 16-0; Guatemala, 11-0; Honduras, 11-6; Colombia, 24-0; Curacao 14-4; Aruba, 7-4; and Nicaragua, 4-3. This week in the World Series, they defeated Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, 4-0; lost to Chinese Taipei, 9-2; and defeated Australia, 9-0, on Friday to qualify for the International championship game.KENNETT SQUARE, PENNSYLVANIA – The KAU Little League junior all-stars are making their first appearance in the Junior League Baseball World Series. The team arrived in Taylor undefeated at 15-0 and added two more wins to that total. Kennett Square took the state championship by winning 10 straight games and outscoring opponents by 100 runs, 112-12. The all-stars won five more games to capture the USA East regional tournament in Freehold Township, New Jersey, defeating the state champions of New Jersey, 4-0; Connecticut, 13-1; Massachusetts, 10-0; Rhode Island, 8-2; and New York, 15-5 – a scoring edge of 50 to 8. This week at the Junior League World Series, Team Pennsylvania defeated Abilene, Texas, 13-4, and Rutherford County, North Carolina – their opponent on Saturday – 5-2. This is the fifth time a team from Pennsylvania played in the JLWS as the USA East region representative. East teams have won the World Series in Taylor twice, in 1987 (Wappinger Falls, New York) and 1997 (Salem, New Hampshire)RUTHERFORD COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA – The 2017 USA Southeast regional champions are making their second appearance in the Junior League Baseball World Series. And Curtis Snethen also managed them in their first run in 2014, when they went 2-2 in Taylor. Those are the only two times a team from North Carolina has played in the JLWS, although teams from the Rutherfordton Little League played in the Intermediate 50-70 World Series in 2013 as well. Rutherford was unbeaten at 5-0 upon arrival in Taylor, with two wins in the NC state tournament and three in the USA Southeast regional tournament in Fort Myers, Florida. As North Carolina state champs, they defeated Virginia, 2-0, and Florida twice, 5-1 and 4-2. In Taylor, they are 2-1 leading into Saturday with a 4-1 win over North Saginaw, Michigan, 4-1; a 5-2 loss to Pennsylvania and a 5-3 victory over Encinitas, California, to propel them to the USA title game.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 earn the right to play in Taylor, where the series has been played since its inception in 1981. Games are hosted by the Taylor South Little League.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.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. Consolation games are scheduled throughout the week.FRIDAY’S RESULTSMaracaibo, Venezuela (Latin America) 9, Sydney, Australia 0The Latin America champions from Maracaibo, Venezuela, earned the right to play for the International championship of the Junior League Baseball World Series against the Asia-Pacific champs from Chinese Taipei on Saturday at Heritage Park. In a must-win afternoon game, Venezuela shut out the Australian national champions, 9-0. Yohendry Rangel threw a complete-game two-hit shutout by Yohendry Rangel. He walked one and struck out six. Raul Tineo scored three times, including a first-inning steal of home. Samuel Castillo had three runs batted in. Beycker Barrosso hit a two-run homer to right field. Venezuela is now 2-1. Australia finished the tournament 2-2.Rutherford County, North Carolina (USA Southeast) 5, Encinitas, California (USA West) 3The USA Southeast champions from Rutherford County, North Carolina defeated the West champs from Encinitas, California in a 5-3 nailbiter on Friday night. North Carolina rallied from a 2-0 deficit. Riley Stanley knocked in the first run with a triple and scored the tying run. The Southeast champs went ahead for good with two runs in fourth and added another in the fifth. Bailey McGinnis threw four innings of relief, allowing just one run on one hit. California scored a run in the sixth inning to make it 5-3, but the rally was shut down by Kael Snethen in relief. The West champs threatened in the seventh. There were two runners on with two outs. Connor Blough singled to center, but a runner was thrown out trying to go from first to third base by Christian Hardin to end the game. North Carolina improved to 2-1 and earned a spot in the USA championship game vs. Pennsylvania. The loss eliminated California (2-2) from contention.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