Hawaii faces Curacao in Junior League World Series championship game at Taylor’s Heritage Park

Hilo, Hawaii, will take on Willemstad, Curacao, in the championship game of the Junior League World Series of baseball at 5 p.m. Saturday at Heritage Park in Taylor, Michigan.

Tickets are $5 per carload. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU and taped for future broadcast on ESPNU. Heritage Park is located at 12111 Pardee Road.

Hawaii won the USA championship with a come-from-behind 6-5 victory over Johnston, Iowa, on Friday night. Earlier in the day, Curacao won a 10-8 slugfest from the Mexican national champions from Boca Del Rio, Veracruz.

Iowa took a 5-1 lead and was cruising behind pitcher Cody Brenner. But the Little League pitch count rule, which limits pitchers to 95 tosses in a game, went into effect and Brenner was replaced by Ben Larpenter with two outs in the fifth inning with Connor Yoshioka on first with a single.

Jordan Jinbo followed with a base hit and Quintin Torres-Cost doubled, scoring Yoshioka. Ridge Hoopii-Haslam was walked intentionally to load the bases, but Kean Wong was hit by a pitch, scoring Jinbo. Torres-Cost scored on a wild pitch and Hoopii-Haslam scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball before a ground out ended the inning.

Hawaii (4-1) was led by Wong, Jinbo and Torres-Cost, who had two hits apiece. Hoopii-Haslam was the winning pitcher, holding Iowa scoreless in the last four innings and striking out nine batters.

Iowa (3-2) had nine hits, two each by Larpenter, Tyler Neumann and Michael Kinning.

Curacao (5-0) remained unbeaten in the week-long World Series by defeating Mexico for the International championship. Curacao, the Latin America regional champions, got two home runs from Sherman LaCrus and two more from Alexander Rodriguez, who was 3-for-3 and scored three runs.

Curacao never trailed, scoring eight times in the second inning. Mexico cut the gap to two, 8-6, with four runs in the fourth, but Curacao added two in the bottom of the fourth and then held on as Mexico added two in the sixth. Jose Mora homered for Mexico, which got two hits from Jose Ramon and Gabriel Rodriguez.

Mexico finished the World Series 3-2.

Curacao has plenty of World Series experience. Players on the current team played in the 2005 and/or 2006 Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The Junior League World Series is considered the big brother of the Little League series.

Curacao played without Manager Johannes Gregorius, who was suspended for inserting an ineligible pitcher in the lineup during Thursday’s 7-5 win over Manila, Philippines. Officials from the Asia-Pacific champions filed a protest, and the Little League Baseball and Softball Tournament Committee in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, suspended Gregorius, but let the win stand.

Saturday’s world championship game also is broadcast by streaming audio on www.cityoftaylor.com/listen.

For more information on the World Series, visit www.cityoftaylor.com/worldseries.

Friday’s games at a glance:
International Championship Game:
Willemstad, Curacao 10, Boca Del Rio, Veracruz, Mexico 8
USA Championship Game:
Hilo, Hawaii 6, Johnston, Iowa 5

Saturday’s schedule
Noon Home Run Derby
5 p.m. World Championship Game:
Hilo, Hawaii vs. Willemstad, Curacao