World Series Notebook: Watch the Game Again; Home Run Derby; Honoring Team Taylor...

Junior League World Series Notebook

Opening ceremonies? What opening ceremonies?

The new Junior League World Series champions from the Palma Ceia/Bayshore Little League in Tampa, Florida, have more than one thing in common with their Palma Ceia/Bayshore predecessors who took home the world title in 2004.

Seven years ago, the Florida team’s arrival in Taylor was delayed by Hurricane Charley, which caused havoc in the Tampa area and closed the airport. The Palma Ceia/Bayshore all-stars arrived a day late in Taylor, they missed opening ceremonies and the schedule had to be revised to accommodate the late arrival.

Fast forward to Saturday, August 13, and Heritage Park and the rest of the Downriver area was hit by a thunderstorm with plenty of lightning. For the first time in World Series history, the opening ceremonies had to be cancelled. Only the fireworks went off as scheduled.

Twice, Palma Ceia/Bayshore has played in the Junior League World Series. Twice, the all-stars have the world championship. And twice, they have missed opening ceremonies.

Broadcast News

If you missed the live broadcast on ESPN2, you can view a replay on the web at The complete link is

The announcers were Clayton Matvick and former Major Leaguer Morgan Ensberg.

Home Run Derby

Participation in the Best Buy Home Run Derby was lower this year than in most, possibly because of the 9 a.m. starting time before the 11 a.m. championship game on Saturday.

Nonetheless, players from Puerto Rico were ready and able. Eight members of the Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, team took their cuts on baseballs set up on a tee and three of the players went home with nice gifts, compliments of the Taylor Best Buy store.

Ender DeJesus finished first with three home runs. Alexander Reyes and Rey Rodriguez finished second and third, respectively.

Thank you, Best Buy!

World Series Director Greg Bzura gratefully accepted a check for $5,000 from Best Buy, the primary sponsor of the Junior League World Series.

Beth Daniels and other representatives of the Taylor Best Buy store made the presentation of a ceremonial check prior to the championship game on Saturday.

Best Buy employees also volunteer throughout the series and were seen during the “shoot the shirt” promotion between innings of baseball games.

“For year’s Best Buy’s donations of funding and employees’ volunteer time have been an asset to the World Series,” Bzura said. “We are all so grateful for their support.”

Honoring Team Taylor

The members of the Taylor South and Taylor North Central Little Leagues made up an all-star team in the Junior League – the same 13- and 14-year-old division of Little League that played in the World Series in Taylor.

Those Taylor South/North Central all-stars won the Michigan state championship and advanced to the Central regional tournament in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They made it all the way to the final game before falling to North Canton, Ohio, 8-6. It was farther than any other Junior League team from Taylor had gone in the regional tournament.

However, North Canton wound up playing in the World Series on Taylor South’s home field at Heritage Park.

The organizers of the World Series did not let the local players’ achievement go unnoticed. Prior to one of the 5 p.m. games, the players, coaching staff and league officials were introduced to the crowd.

Public address announcer Jim Sicotte introduced players Cody Sarafin, Tyler Butzin, Marco Marchelletta, Kyle Roberts, Quinn Garcia, Justin Littleton, Chris Delong, Justin Nester, Aaron Ajrouche, Matt Woloszyk, Mateo Perez and Dillon Garrett.

Also introduced were Manager Tom Nester, coaches Phil Garrett, Mark Garcia and Rob Christian, league presidents Darrin Lyle of Taylor South and Ron Zaborowski of North Central and District Administrator Sharon Mayer.

“These guys had the whole city buzzing about the thought that for the first-time ever a team from Taylor could win the Central region and come back home and compete for the world championship,” public address announcer Jim Sicotte said. “Congratulations to the entire Taylor South/Taylor North Central Little League.”

Feed us and we will come

Area groups stepped up and took turns providing special meals to the teams.

Members of the Taylor Moose served lunch and provided entertainment and relaxation for the players, coaches and fans on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.

Local Chinese and Taiwanese people made members of the Chinese Taipei team feel at home by serving a meal with a number of dishes preferred by the visitors from Taoyuan.

Members of the Puerto Rico Club served a potluck dinner of traditional Spanish food to the Puerto Rico and Venezuela teams on Tuesday at the club at Fort Street near Springwell in Detroit.

Juan Sanchez, who has been attending World Series games for decades, said the meal included rice and beans, arros con gandules, traditional chicharon and deep fried pork.

Sanchez said the Puerto Rican players told him they were craving their native food. He said the team responded by giving heavily favored Chinese Taipei all it could handle the next day before falling short, 7-6.

Members of the Downriver Italian-American Club in Wyandotte served a fine Italian luncheon to Team Italy, team President Eros Reggiani, Manager Dimes Gamberini and Coach Federico Bassi.

Riverview resident Frank Giannotti, who is an officer in the club, said the meal included penne, spaghetti, homemade sauce meatballs, salad, cannolis and more.

It was the second time the club honored an Italian team during its participation in the World Series. The Italian National Anthem was played prior to the meal and the players were introduced.

“It was an honor to have the team in our presence,” Giannotti said. “They represent the champions of our nationality by beating other teams throughout Europe and Northern Africa. They are truly our champions.”

Most lunches and dinners were served by “Chef Barney” Sprague, “the official chef of the Junior League World Series.” Sprague, a Taylor resident, is a long-time member of the World Series volunteer staff.

For more information about Chef Barney and Associates, call (313) 525-1629.

Photographic memories

Interested in photos from the official photographer of the Junior League World Series? Visit the MWC Sports website at

Home Run Derby winner Ender DeJesus of Puerto Rico.

Best Buy volunteers present prizes to the Home Run Derby Top 3.

World Series Director Greg Bzura accepts a $5,000 donation from Beth Daniels
and other Best Buy volunteers.

Team Italy stands for the playing of the Italian national anthem during a luncheon at the
Downriver Italian-American Club.