Countdown continues to Junior League World Series Final 4

A record-setting weeknight crowd may be a preview of things to come during the Junior League World Series of baseball at Taylor’s Heritage Park.

Four games are scheduled for Thursday on World Series Field. Each may have a bearing on the USA and International championship games that will take place on Friday.

Thursday’s Schedule
●Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy (1-2) vs. Oranjestad, Aruba (3-0), 11 a.m.
●Yabucoa, Puerto Rico (3-0) vs. Saipan, Mariana Islands (2-1), 2 p.m.
●Jackson, New Jersey (2-1) vs. Scottsdale, Arizona (3-0), 5 p.m.
●Easley, South Carolina (0-3) vs. Middlebury, Indiana (1-2), 8 p.m.

Thursday’s games will conclude pool play in the 29th annual World Series for the best teams of 13- and 14-year-old players from around the globe. 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. Friday.

The International and USA champions meet for the world title at 5 p.m. The final game of the World Series will be televised live on ESPNU and rebroadcast on ESPN2.

Heritage Park is located at 21555 Pardee Road between Goddard and Northline. Tickets are $5 per carload per day or $10 for the entire week. Both fees include parking.

Here are the pool standings entering Thursday’s games:

USA Pool
Scottsdale, Arizona (West Regional Champion) 3-0
Jackson, New Jersey (East Regional Champion) 2-1
Albuquerque, New Mexico (Southwest Regional Champion) 2-2
Middlebury, Indiana (Central Regional Champion) 1-2
Easley, South Carolina (Southeast Regional Champion) 0-3
 
International Pool
Yabucoa, Puerto Rico (National Champion) 3-0
Oranjestad, Aruba (Latin America Champion) 2-1
Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands (Asia-Pacific Champion) 2-1
Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy (Europe/Middle East/Africa Champion) 1-2
Coquitlam, British Columbia (Canadian National Champion) 0-4

Wednesday Game Recaps

Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands 11
Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada 9

Saipan kept its championship hopes alive with a stirring comeback over Coquitlam, British Columbia, 11-9, in the Wednesday opener of the Junior League World Series at Taylor’s Heritage Park.
 
With a 2-1 record, the Asia-Pacific champions remain in the running for the International Pool title and a berth in the World Series championship game. The team’s second victory of the tournament was more than any of the other five Saipan teams that played in the World Series for 13- and 14-year-old ballplayers.
 
Trailing the Canadian national champions, 9-5, Saipan scored six runs in the sixth inning to steal the game. Jeremy Rabaulnan was 3=2 0for 3 with a walk, three runs batted in and three runs scored.
 
The loss was Canada’s last chance for a win in pool play. The boys from BC finished 0-4.

Jackson, New Jersey 3
Easley, South Carolina 2

Jackson, New Jersey, improved its chances in the USA Pool by edging Easley, South Carolina, 3-2.
 
The USA Eastern Region champs utilized a bulldog pitching performance by Tyler Pallante, who dominated at times during his 6 2/3 innings, striking out 11, allowing only five hits and walking just one.
 
Jordan Mundell went 4-for-4 to lead New Jersey, which improved to 2-1 with one game to go in pool play.
 
Tyler Burgess went 3-for-3 for the USA Southeast champs from South Carolina, which fell to 0-3.

Scottsdale, Arizona 7
Albuquerque, New Mexico 4

Scottsdale, Arizona, punched the clock at 5 p.m. and in workmanlike fashion defeated the USA Southwest champ Albuquerque, New Mexico, 7-4.
 
It was the third straight win for the USA West champs and the 21st victory in a row since starting post-season play a month ago. New Mexico, which needed a victory, fell to 2-2 in pool play.
 
Arizona pitchers Grant Martinez, Cody Erickson and Ryan Riggs kept New Mexico at bay, allowing four runs on five hits and striking out 10. In three JLWS games, Arizona pitchers have allowed just five runs.
 
Dylan Cozens, Duncan Morfitt and Michael DeRegis each had two hits for Arizona.  Ronald Alderete had two hits for New Mexico.

Yabucoa, Puerto Rico 6
Oranjestad, Aruba 4

In front of the biggest weekday crowd in the 29-year history of the Junior League World Series, Puerto Rico topped Aruba, 6-4. The festive Wednesday night crowd at Taylor’s Heritage Park was treated to a well-played classic contest that left Puerto Rico 3-0 and Aruba 2-1 in the International Pool
 
The Puerto Rican national champions from Yabucoa scored in the top of the first when Kevin Santa singled and came home on a base hit by Bernie Sanchez. The Latin America champs from Aruba tied it in the second on doubles Chadwick Trump and Miklos Petronia.
 
Santa was safe on an error to start the Puerto Rico third and came home on an Angel Rodriguez two-run home run. With solo runs in the third and fourth, Aruba knotted the score at 3-apiece. Petronia homered for the third run.
 
Aruba surged ahead in its fifth inning on a towering home run off the bat of Shawn Dunkirk.
 
Puerto Rico started its sixth with a Rodriguez walk and Kristian Brito single. After a passed ball, Christian Medina doubled both runners in to give Puerto Rico a 5-4 lead.
 
Puerto Rico champions added an insurance run on a Ramon Aponte single, a stolen base and an RBI base hit by Santa.
 
Santa and Medina were each 2-for-4 with Medina driving in four runs. Petronia powered Aruba with two hits.
 
Friday’s Schedule:
International Championship Game, 5 p.m.
United States Championship Game, 8 p.m.

Saturday’s Schedule:
Home Run Derby
World Championship Game, 5 p.m.

Notebook

The Junior League World Series is considered the “big brother” of the Little League World Series, the annual tournament for 12-year-old ballplayers in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Taylor has hosted the Junior League World Series for 29 years…

The World Series thanks the Taylor Moose Lodge for providing lunch for all players, coaches and families both Wednesday and Thursday of World Series week. In addition, the Downriver Italian-American Club provided dinner Wednesday night for the team from Italy…

Some of the players in this year’s Junior League World Series may one day compete professionally. At least 10 players from past JLWS have gone on to stardom, including former Detroit Tiger Gary Sheffield, pitcher Brett Myers of the 2008 Major League World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies, Seattle pitcher Erik Bedard, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel and University of Nebraska football Coach Bo Pelini…

Pat Hinojosa, owner of MWC Sports, is in his fifth year as the official photographer of the Junior League World Series. Hinojosa and his staff shoot still photos and video of sports and other special events. To view his photos, visit the web site www.mwcsportsinc.com. MWC also is at the field selling custom photo novelties.