Final day of World Series pool play Thursday at Heritage Park

TAYLOR, Michigan – Prior to this year, no team from the Asia-Pacific region of Junior League baseball had ever won more than one game in the World Series in Taylor. This year, a team of 13- and 14-year-old boys from Manila, Philippines, has won its first three games.
 
On Wednesday, Manila defeated St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, 6-1. The Philippines (3-0) is the only undefeated team in the International Pool.
 
The Latin American champions from the Virgin Islands, which opened up pool play with two straight wins, have now lost two in a row. At 2-2, St. Thomas is done with pool play.
 
Manila never trailed in the game. In the second inning, Mark Ong singled, stole second and scored on a double by Andrew Tan. The team added five runs in the third. Adriane Bernardo led off with a home run. Four walks, another single by Ong, an RBI ground out by Tan and a fielding error later, it was 6-0. St. Thomas scored its only run in the seventh. Yusuke Kuroda was the winning pitcher for the second time in the series.
 
Pearl City, Hawaii, also won for the third time in three games. The USA West champs – making their fourth straight appearance at the World Series – defeated previously unbeaten Laredo, Texas, 3-0. Team Hawaii scored single runs in the first, fourth and sixth innings, while Kahana Neal and Kawika Pruett combined on a five-hitter, striking out eight batters. Keanu Sato had two of Hawaii’s six hits. Pitcher Rene Compean was 2-for-3 for Texas (2-1). In a play that has been described as the most exciting outfield catch in Junior League World Series history, Texas center fielder Roberto Aguero robbed Neal of a certain grand slam in the bottom of the second inning. Aguero  caught the ball as it sailed over the fence and his momentum carried him nearly all the way over the fence. Yet, he righted himself and hung on for a long out.
 
Sean Wollman singled home Sean McKee in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Middletown, New Jersey, a 5-4 win over Glendale, Wisconsin. McKee led off with a walk, advanced on a wild pitch and a sacrifice bunt by Gavin Koegel and then scored on the base hit. The last-inning heroics spoiled a comeback by Wisconsin, which scored two runs in the top of the seventh on a double by Sam Dorf to tie the game at 4-4. There were three home runs in the game: one each by D.J. Peltz of Wisconsin and McKee and Brandon Vorrius of New Jersey. McKee, the winning pitcher, was 3-for-3 and scored three times. Teammate Andrew Suralik was 3-for-4 and Adam Goscinski was 2-for-3. For Wisconsin, Dorf, Adam Nuelk and Dan Flatley had two hits apiece. The win left New Jersey 2-2 in pool play. Wisconsin fell to 1-2.
 
In the fourth game of the day, the Canadian national champions from Surrey, British Columbia, improved their chances of playing for the International championship by defeating Kirovograd, Ukraine, 16-6. Canada broke open a close game with eight runs in the fourth inning and six more in fifth, when the game was halted by the 10-run mercy rule. Nic Buse and Nick Rohla both homered for Team Canada in the fifth. Shortstop Justin Atkinson was 3-for-4 and scored three runs. Rohla, second baseman Tanner Morache and right fielder Connor Nishimura were all 2-for-3 and knocked in three runs apiece. Oleksiy Nizheborets, Ukraine’s 6-foot-6 third baseman, went 3-for-3. Canada improves to 2-1 with one game to go in pool play. Ukraine falls to 0-3.
 
Thursday’s games:
Manila, Philippines (3-0) vs. Kirovograd, Ukraine (0-3), 11 a.m.
Glendale, Wisconsin (1-2) vs. Pearl City, Hawaii (3-0), 2 p.m.
Surrey, British Columbia (2-1) vs. Guayama, Puerto Rico (1-2), 5 p.m.
Anderson, South Carolina (0-3) vs. Laredo, Texas (2-1), 8 p.m.
 
■Middletown, New Jersey, and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, have the day off.
 
Friday’s games:
International Championship Game, 5 p.m.
USA Championship Game, 8 p.m.
 
Saturday’s game:
World Championship Game, 5 p.m.
 
(The World Championship will be broadcast live at 5 p.m. Saturday on ESPNU. It will be broadcast on a tape-delay basis at 2 p.m. August 29 on ESPN2.)
 
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.
 
All games are played at Heritage Park, located at 12111 Pardee Road. Admission is just $4 per carload per day or $7 for a week’s pass. The price includes parking.
 
Audio broadcasts of all games are scheduled for the Web site www.cityoftaylor.com/listen.
 
Standings
USA Pool

Laredo, Texas                    2-1 (USA Southwest)
Pearl City, Hawaii                3-0 (USA West)
Glendale, Wisconsin            1-2 (USA Central)
Middletown, New Jersey        2-2 (USA East)
Anderson, South Carolina     0-3 (USA South)
 
International Pool
Manila, Philippines               3-0 (Asia-Pacific)
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands    2-2 (Latin America)
Surrey, British Columbia        2-1 (Canada)
Guayama, Puerto Rico          1-2 (Puerto Rico)
Kirovograd, Ukraine              0-3 (Europe/Middle East/Africa)
 
For complete results of all games, the history of the World Series and a photo gallery, visit www.cityoftaylor.com/worldseries.
 
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.