Unbeaten teams play Wednesday in Junior League World Series in Taylor

TAYLOR, Michigan – Two undefeated teams will hit the baseball diamond at 11 a.m. Wednesday in the first of four games in the Junior League World Series at Heritage Park in Taylor.

The 27th annual Junior League series features the best teams of 13- and 14-year-old players from around the world. It’s the “big brother” of the more famous Little League World Series for 12-year-olds in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Wednesday’s schedule
After three days in Taylor, the 10 teams in the JLWS have their eyes on the world championship. Pearl City, Hawaii, and Laredo, Texas, are both 2-0 entering their Wednesday morning game in the USA Pool.

Other Wednesday games:
Manila, Philippines (2-0) vs. St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (2-1), 2 p.m.
Glendale, Wisconsin (1-1) vs. Middletown, New Jersey (1-2), 5 p.m.
Surrey, British Columbia (1-1) vs. Kirovograd, Ukraine (0-2), 8 p.m.

■Anderson, South Carolina (0-3) and Guayama, Puerto Rico (1-2) have the day off.

Tuesday’s Games
Hawaii won its second game and teams from Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and Canada got into the win column for the first time during Tuesday’s action.
 
The USA Central Region champs from Glendale, Wisconsin, spotted Anderson, South Carolina, a 2-0 lead in the first inning and then stormed back with four in the second and six in the third. After one more in the fourth and two in the fifth, the game was halted by the 10-run mercy rule. Alex Nuelk not only was the winning pitcher, he was 3-for-3, scored twice and knocked in three runs. Shortstop Sam Dorf was 2-for-2 with two runs and three RBI. Third baseman D.J. Peltz and catcher Nick Zausch also had two hits in the 15-hit attack. South Carolina catcher Luke Gibson Jr. had his second home run in two games. Wisconsin improved to 1-1. South Carolina (0-3) is the USA South champion.

In the International Pool, Guayama, Puerto Rico, won for the first time in three games, defeating Kirovograd, Ukraine, 8-1. The national champions of Puerto Rico scored all the runs they needed by getting three in the first inning. First baseman Randy Ramos led the way with a 3-for-4 day with two doubles and four RBI. Catcher Angel Santell and left fielder Frankie Delannoy had two hits apiece. Edgardo Diaz allowed one run on four hits in six innings. Jelfred Santell pitched the last shutout inning. Oleksiy Nizheborets and Roman Mayfat had two hits apiece for Ukraine. The champions of Europe, the Middle East and Africa fell to 0-2 for the series.

The Canadian national champions from Surrey, British Columbia, gave St. Thomas of the U.S. Virgin Islands its first loss in the World Series and put BC in the hunt in the International Pool. B.C. defeated V.I., 9-3. The team from the Whalley Little League never trailed and scored in six of the seven innings. Whalley had eight hits, but took advantage of seven errors. Catcher Nic Buse of Canada had two hits and teammate Christopher Fischer knocked in two runs. Justin Atkinson was the winning pitcher. Brandon Bufton picked up the save, pitching one-hit shutout ball for the last three innings. For St. Thomas, Akil Hanson had two hits and Geary Smith had two RBI. Canada improved to 1-1. The Latin American champions from the Virgin Islands fell to 2-1.

The nightcap between Pearl City, Hawaii, and Middletown, New Jersey, came down to the last pitch. In a battle between USA West and East champions, Hawaii defeated New Jersey, 3-2. Middletown took the lead in the second inning on a two-run double by Chris Pattwell as Sean McKee and Ryan Marsini scored. Pearl City cut the lead in half when Chevas Numata singled home his brother, Chace Numata, in the top of the third. In the next inning, with the bases loaded, Chace Numata singled home Isaac Shim and Brycen Komentani scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch. The Numata brothers had two hits apiece. Chace also was the winning pitcher, pitching a two-hitter and striking out eight batters over six innings. Kawika Pruett pitched the seventh and earned the save. Pearl City is 2-0. Middletown is 1-2. Each loss has been by one run.

The World Series continues…
Four games are scheduled Wednesday and four more on Thursday. The top two teams in the International Pool play at 5 p.m. Friday. The top two teams in the USA Pool play at 8 p.m.

The winners play for the World Championship at 5 p.m. Saturday. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU. It will be broadcast on a tape-delay basis at 2 p.m. August 29 on ESPN2.

Audio broadcasts of all games are scheduled for the Web site www.cityoftaylor.com/listen.

Tickets are just $4 per day per carload or $7 for a week’s pass. Parking is included. Heritage Park is located at 12111 Pardee Road.

For complete results of all games, the history of the World Series and a photo gallery, visit www.cityoftaylor.com/worldseries.

Standings
USA Pool

Laredo, Texas   2-0 (USA Southwest)
Pearl City, Hawaii   2-0 (USA West)
Glendale, Wisconsin  1-1 (USA Central)
Middletown, New Jersey  1-2 (USA East)
Anderson, South Carolina  0-3 (USA South)

International Pool
Manila, Philippines   2-0 (Asia-Pacific)
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands 2-1 (Latin America)
Surrey, British Columbia  1-1 (Canada)
Guayama, Puerto Rico  1-2 (Puerto Rico)
Kirovograd, Ukraine  0-2 (Europe/Middle East/Africa)
 
From Taylor to the Pros
World Series’ alumni include a number of current and former Major League players, including current Detroit Tiger Gary Sheffield, who, along with another future pro, Derek Bell, played for the 1982 world championship team from Tampa, Florida.

Erik Bedard, who leads the Major Leagues in strikeouts while pitching for Baltimore, played in 1992 with the Canadian national champions from Ontario. Other present and former pro ballplayers that have competed in Taylor include Brett Myers, Jose and Javier Valentin, Erubial Durazo, Delino DeShields, Chad Hermansen, Shannon Withem and Adam Loewen.

Matt Cassel, a backup quarterback to Tom Brady for the New England Patriots of the National Football League, played in the series. Pro hockey players that played baseball in Taylor included Chris Dingman and Steve Reinprecht. Mark “Bo” Pelini, who played for the first world champions from Boardman, Ohio, in 1981, is defensive coordinator for the Louisiana State University football team.

Sad news
The Junior League World Series is sad to report the death of veteran Downriver sports announcer and reporter Jay Strassner. Jay was a sports reporter for the old Mellus Newspapers and announced sports throughout the Downriver area for Comcast -- including Junior League World Series games. Starting last year, Jay and his broadcast partner Ted Fournier announced World Series games on the City of Taylor's new streaming audio system on the Internet. Jay's last broadcast this year was the Sunday afternoon game between New Jersey and South Carolina. He was scheduled to announce the Sunday evening game between Wisconsin and Texas, but was unable to come to Heritage Park to the game. Initial reports said Jay died Monday of a heart attack. All games on Tuesday were dedicated to Jay, a wonderful announcer a great guy and a true friend of the Junior League World Series. Jay's body will be cremated. A memorial service is set for 5 to 9 p.m. Monday at Arnoldo's Banquet Center, 18275 Quarry, Riverview.