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Here is the field of teams for the 2015 Junior League World Series:
Asia-Pacific Region Champion: Chinese Taipei returns to Taylor for the sixth year in a row. The same junior high school that won the World Series last year – Chung Shan in Tai Chung City – has qualified to play in Taylor again after winning the Asia-Pacific Region in Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. In the regional tournament, Chinese Taipei went undefeated against the national champions of Australia, Saipan, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Guam. Teams from Chinese Taipei have won the JLWS in 2010, 2013 and 2014.
Latin American Region Champion: The Aguadulce Cabezera Little League, which hosted the Latin America Regional in Panama, debuts in the World Series. The host team went 4-0 in pool play, defeating the national champions of Mexico, Colombia, Aruba and Guatemala. They ousted Curacao, 7-6, in the semifinals and then defeated Mexico in a rematch, 8-6. The national champs of Venezuela, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Panama (Parque Lefevre), Nicaragua and Costa Rica also were part of the 11-team region. This will be Panama’s fourth appearance in Taylor. A team from Panama City won the World Series in 2005.
Europe-Africa Region Champion: A team from Brno, Czech Republic, returns to the JLWS for the third year in a row as Europe-Africa regional champion. The Czech boys won the 10-nation Europe-Africa tournament in Kutno, Poland. Brno defeated the national champions of Poland, Austria, Netherlands, Uganda and Italy to set up a championship game with Uganda, which had one loss and could not afford a second in the double-elimination format. Czech Republic was shutout in the first game, 10-0, but rallied to win the rematch, 7-3. This will be the fourth appearance in Taylor for a Czech Republic team, the first coming in 1997.
Puerto Rico National Champion: Due to the popularity of baseball in Puerto Rico and Mexico, the national champions of the two countries alternate automatic berths in the JLWS. This year, it’s Puerto Rico’s turn, with the Villa Blanca Boys and Girls Baseball League in Caguas winning the national title. This will be the 24th time a Puerto Rico champion plays in Taylor, but the first appearance by an all-star team from Caguas. Teams from Puerto Rico have won the World Series five times, in 1983, 1989, 1990, 1993 and 1999. By the way, even though Mexico didn’t receive an automatic berth this year, the national champions competed in the Latin America Regional Tournament, won by Panama.
Canada National Champion: The Ontario provincial champion from the Oakville Little League went on to win the Canadian National Tournament to qualify for the Junior League World Series in Taylor. The nationals started slow for the boys from Oakville, which opened with a 2-1 loss to Surrey, British Columbia, but then they won seven straight games, including a 15-3 victory in the title game over Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. The seven-team region also included the provincial champions of Alberta, Quebec and Saskatchewan, plus a host team. This is the sixth appearance in the JLWS by a team from Ontario – the first since 2006. It is Oakville’s first appearance in Taylor. Oakville is located midway between Hamilton and Toronto, Ontario – about a 3½-hour drive to Taylor – the closest of all 2015 World Series teams.
USA Southeast Region Champion: The first American team to qualify for this year’s JLWS was the Frederick County National East Little League from Winchester, Virginia, which won the seven-state Southeast tournament held in Greenville, South Carolina. The Virginia state champions defeated the state champions of North Carolina and South Carolina, but were forced into the losers’ bracket by Tennessee. A win over Florida put Virginia into a rematch for the championship with Tennessee. Virginia won 10-0. Also in the region were the state champions of Georgia and West Virginia. This will be the sixth time a team from Virginia plays in the JLWS, but the first appearance by a team from Winchester. Nine teams from the Southeast region have won the World Series for 13- and 14-year-olds.
USA Southwest Region Champion: The Texas West state champions from the Weslaco Little League in Weslaco, Texas, won the USA Southwest Regional championship to advance to the Junior League World Series. Weslaco went 4-0 in the region in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, earning wins over the state champ from Louisiana, the host team from Albuquerque, the Texas East champs from Beaumont and a second victory over Louisiana, 10-0, in the championship game. Rounding out the seven-team region were the state champs of Colorado, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Weslaco is the first team in the Rio Grande Valley to qualify for a World Series – and Weslaco is the 17th team from Texas to play in the JLWS. Since the Southwest Region was formed in 2002, teams from the Southwest have won the World Series once – by El Campo, Texas in 2006. Before that, teams from Texas won the series in 1991 and 1996 when Texas was part of the Southeast region. Last year, the Oil Belt Little League in Corpus Christi, Texas, won the USA championship in Taylor.
USA East Region Champion: The New Jersey state champions from the Ridgewood Little League won the USA East Regional Tournament in Freehold Township, New Jersey. Ridgewood defeated Malvern, Pennsylvania, 8-1, in the regional championship game to finish 4-1 in the tournament. Avery Scott pitched a five-hitter, striking out five. Ridgewood’s only loss came against the Pennsylvania state champions, 2-1, forcing an extra game in the double-elimination tournament. Ridgewood also defeated the state champions of Connecticut and Maryland and the host team from Freehold. Also playing in the 10-team region were the state champs of Delaware, Maine, New York and Rhode Island. This is the 12th time a team from New Jersey has played in the JLWS. Teams from the East have won the JLWS twice. Waldorf, Maryland, took the title in 1986. Salem, New Hampshire became world champion in 1997.
USA West Region Champion: Pearl City, Hawaii, is making its seventh appearance in the JLWS. The Hawaii state champions won the Junior League Baseball West Regional Tournament in Vancouver, Washington, going 6-0 in the process. In the championship game, it took a 10th-inning walk-off double by Chaeston Chon to give Pearl City a 2-1 win over Manhattan Beach, California. Other Hawaii wins came over the state champions of Montana, Alaska, Northern California, Nevada and Washington. Rounding out the 10-team region were the state champs of Arizona, Idaho, Oregon and Utah. Teams from the West Region have won the JLWS 10 times – the most of any American region. The most recent came in 2009 when the Mountain View Little League of Scottsdale, Arizona, won the title in 2000 and 2001. Hawaii state champions have won the World Series four times. Pearl City was the world champ in 1989 and 2007. Aiea, Hawaii, won the title in 2000 and 2001.
USA Central Region Champion: The Junior All-Stars from the Johnston Little League in Iowa became the 10th and final team to qualify for the JLWS, outlasting 10 other teams to win the USA Central Regional Tournament in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Johnston had to beat two undefeated teams on August 13 -- the final day of the regional -- to win the tournament. In the morning semifinal, Iowa defeated top-seed Bowling Green, Kentucky, 16-7. After second-seed Chicago, Illinois beat Midland, Michigan, 5-3, in the other semifinal, Iowa won the tournament with a 6-3 win over the Illinois state champs. Johnston went 5-2 in the regional, losing to the same Chicago team to open the tourney on August 8 and then losing to the state champs of Indiana two days later. Johnston's other wins came over Wisconsin, Michigan and North Dakota. Rounding out the region were a host team from Fort Wayne and the state champs of Minnesota, Missouri and Ohio. This is the second team from Johnston – and the fourth team overall – to represent Iowa in the JLWS. In the 2008 series, a Johnston team went 3-2. Only one USA Central Region champion has won the JLWS. The first year the World Series was held in 1981, the world champion was from Boardman, Ohio. College football Coach Mark “Bo” Pelini played on that team. The former University of Nebraska coach has been hired to coach at Youngstown State.