Ex-U of M football player remembers the 1994 World Series
By Dave Gorgon
Special to The News-Herald
Four nations have qualified for the 25th annual Junior League World Series, set for August 14-20 at Heritage Park in Taylor.
?Rotterdam, The Netherlands, qualified for the series for the first time by winning the regional tournament held for teams from Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
The Rotterdam/Rijnmond Little League team went 6-0 in the July 8-15 EMEA tournament in Kutno, Poland. The champions of The Netherlands defeated top teams from Germany, Austria, Belgium, Poland and Lithuania before topping Belgium for a second time in the regional championship game, 7-0. In all, the European champs outscored their rivals, 53-5. Three of the six games ended in shutouts.
Other nations in the 11-team EMEA region were Slovenia, Moldova, Jordan, Belarus and the Ukraine.
?Panama won the Latin America tournament that was hampered by rain caused by Hurricane Emily. The Curundu Little League team from Panama City won the region in St. John’s, Antigua, in the West Indies.
In the championship game, Panama defeated Santa Cruz, Aruba, 8-0, to qualify for the World Series. Panama also defeated teams from the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela and Curacao, outscoring opponents, 51-13, over five regional games.
Four games in pool play were cancelled in the regional and one was suspended after four innings because of rain. Also competing in the Latin American region were Antigua, the U.S. Virgin Islands and San Maarten.
Panama is the only Central American nation to play in Taylor, losing in the finals in both 2002 and 2003. Prior visitors to Taylor came from Chirqui and Santiago, Panama.
?Saipan of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) won the Asia-Pacific Region for the fifth straight year.
Saipan won the five-team Asia-Pacific regional tournament held on Tinian Island, CNMI. Saipan went 5-0, defeating teams from Guam, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Indonesia. The Asia-Pacific championship game went down to the wire, with Saipan defeating Guam, 12-11.
The team from CNMI outscored opponents, 65-34, during the regional tournament, held July 9-15.
?The Hermanos Cruz Little League from Arroyo, Puerto Rico, returns to Taylor for the fourth time. The same league has been the national champion of Puerto Rico and played in Taylor in 1987, 1998 and 1999, winning the world title in its last visit.
The national champions of Puerto Rico and Mexico receive an automatic berth to the World Series in alternate years. Puerto Rico qualifies in odd-numbered years. The agreement allows both the International and USA pools to have five teams apiece. Puerto Rico and Mexico were selected because of the high popularity of baseball in each country. The team that does not receive the automatic berth may still qualify for the World Series by winning the Latin American Region.
The fifth team in the International bracket of the series will be the Canadian national champion, determined in a tournament August 4-11 in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia.
In the World Series, the five international teams play in round-robin competition. The top team in the International Pool faces the top team from the United States for the world championship on August 20. The game will be taped by ESPN for future broadcast.
Play in the five USA regions takes place August 2-11. Tournaments are scheduled for Tinton Falls, New Jersey (East); Fort Grove, Oregon (West); Grand Junction, Colorado (Southwest); Cartersville, Georgia (South); and Fort Wayne, Indiana (Central).
For more information on the Junior League World Series, visit www.cityoftaylor.com/worldseries.