Hawaii, Iowa to play for US championship; International Pool up in the air

Thursday’s games at a glance:
Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada 14, London, England 2
Johnston, Iowa 2, Canton, Massachusetts 1
Willemstad, Curacao 7, Manila, Philippines 5
Mechanicsville, Virginia 11, Alvin, Texas 1

Friday’s schedule
5 p.m. International Championship Game
8 p.m. USA Championship Game: Johnston, Iowa (3-1) vs. Hilo, Hawaii (3-1)

Saturday’s schedule
Noon Home Run Derby
5 p.m. World Championship Game: International Champion vs. USA Champion

Highlights

Friday’s USA championship game is set for the Junior League World Series at Taylor’s Heritage Park. But the finalists in the International championship game are pending the outcome of a protest decision Friday morning by Little League International in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Hilo, Hawaii, will take on Johnston, Iowa, for the USA title at 8 p.m. Friday. The International title game is up in the air after officials from Manila, Philippines, protested last night’s 7-5 loss to Willemstad, Curacao. If the protest is denied and the victory stands, Curacao will take on Boca Del Rio, Veracruz, Mexico, for the International championship at 5 p.m. If the protest is upheld, the Asia-Pacific champions from the Philippines could be back in the mix.

The protest was filed in the seventh inning after Curacao inserted a relief pitcher that did not have enough rest after his last pitching performance earlier in the week. When the error was discovered, the pitcher was removed from the lineup, his pitching record for the inning was erased and the game was restarted at the point the pitcher had entered the game. At the time, Curacao had a 7-1 lead. Julian Habana of the Philippines hit a grand slam, but Curacao held on for a 7-5 victory.

As it stands, Curacao is the only undefeated team in the tournament at 4-0. The Philippines, which needed a win to continue playing, fell to 2-2. Mexico is 3-1.

In the game, Rayshelon Carolina, Alexander Rodriguez and Vincent Anthonia each had two hits for Caracao. Winning pitcher Sherman Lacrus had a two-run homer in the third inning.

In the other key game of the day, Iowa (3-1) scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning and hung on for a 2-1 victory over Canton, Massachusetts. The win gave Iowa the third win it needed to gain a berth in the USA championship game vs. Hawaii (3-1). Trailing 1-0 after six innings, Iowa got three straight singles by Ben Larpenter, Kale Singleton and Michael Kinning. Larpenter scored on Kinning’s hit and Singleton scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly by Connor Yocum. Singleton had two of his team’s six hits. Kinning was the winning pitcher in relief. Michael Oldenburg and Colby Gavigan had two hits each for Massachusetts, which ended pool play at 1-3.

Coquitlam, British Columbia, got in the win column for the first time of the World Series with a 14-2 victory over London, England. The Canadian national champions got 13 hits. Shortstop Tyler Yorko went 4-for-4, scored twice, hit a two-run homer and knocked in four runs. Teammate Luan Dang was 3-for-4 and scored twice. Winning pitcher Sheldon Vannerus went 2-for-3 and scored three runs. Joseph Beach had two of the hits for England, which is the champion of the Europe/Middle East/Africa region.

In the late game, Mechanicsville, Virginia, scored in every inning to defeat Alvin, Texas, 11-1. Joseph West, Bryant Lowry and Thomas Pulisic homered for Virginia, which outhit Texas 12-6. Blake Spiers was 3-for-3. Raymond Williams had two hits for Texas off Bryan Johansen, who pitched all five innings of the mercy-rule-shortened game. Virginia ends USA Pool play in third place with a 2-2 record. Texas falls to 1-3.

Standings

USA Pool
Johnston, Iowa (Central) 3-1
Hilo, Hawaii (West) 3-1
Mechanicsville, Virginia (South) 2-2
Canton, Massachusetts (East) 1-3
Alvin, Texas (Southwest) 1-3

International Pool *
Willemstad, Curacao (Latin America) 4-0
Boca Del Rio, Veracruz (Mexico) 3-1
Manila, Philippines (Asia-Pacific) 2-2
Coquitlam, British Columbia (Canada) 1-3
London, England (Europe) 0-4

* - pending a review of Thursday’s protested game

The Junior League World Series is considered the older brother of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. In fact, some of the boys who played in Williamsport as 12-year-olds will play this year in Taylor as 13- or 14-year-olds.

The teams in Taylor are divided into two pools: USA and International. Teams play in a round-robin format the first five days of the World Series.

On Friday, August 15, the top two teams in the International Pool play at 5 p.m. Friday, August 15; the two leaders in the USA Pool play at 8 p.m.

The two winners play for the world championship at 5 p.m. Saturday, August 16. The championship game will be broadcast live on ESPNU and shown on tape delay by ESPN2.

All games will be broadcast via streaming audio on the Internet at www.cityoftaylor.com/listen.

To date, 27 different USA states have been represented in the JLWS. Curacao and England – which made their Taylor debut on Sunday – brought to 20 the total of international nations to play in the World Series. Current professionals who played in the JLWS include the Detroit Tigers’ Gary Sheffield.

Umpires, who volunteer to call balls and strikes during the series, have come from 32 states and 12 international nations.

For more information on the tournament visit the World Series Web site: www.cityoftaylor.com/worldseries.