26th annual Junior League World Series starts next weekend in Taylor

August 4, 2006

The 26th annual Junior League World Series of baseball is only a week away.

Games between the world’s best teams of 13- and 14-year-old players get under way at noon next Sunday at Heritage Park in Taylor.

Teams will start arriving during the week and will participate in colorful opening ceremonies at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. The ceremonies include a parade of champions, the national anthem of each country, welcoming remarks and fireworks. The event is open to the public at no cost.

Play continues in Alberta, Canada, and five regions of the United States to determine the final six qualifying teams for the 2006 series.

Teams qualifying to date are Jakarta, Indonesia (champions of the Asia-Pacific Region); Maracaibo, Venezuela (Latin America Region); Ramstein, Germany (Europe-Middle East-Africa Region); and Guaymas, Sonora (national champions of Mexico).

The 10 teams are divided into two pools – the Americans on one side, the international teams on the other. The top two teams in each pool play in the semifinals at 5 and 8 p.m. Friday.

The championship game at 5 p.m. Saturday will be taped for broadcast on ESPN. Throughout the week, select games will be broadcast on streaming audio over the Internet on www.cityoftaylor.com (see related story).

World Series games get under way at noon next Sunday. Four games will be played August 13-17, setting the stage for the championship games of the USA and International pools.

The defending champion is Panama City, Panama, which became the first world champs from Central America by defeating Tarpon Springs, Florida, 4-0, in last year’s finale. Panama did not qualify for this year’s series.

Ticket prices are a modest $4 per day per carload, or $7 per car for the entire series. Both fees include parking.

The Junior League World Series was founded in Taylor in 1981 and never left. It’s considered the big brother of the Little League World Series for 12-year-old players held in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

To date, teams have come to Taylor from 27 different states and 14 other countries. Umpires also come from around the world.

Sponsorships and donations fund the World Series and a massive volunteer effort make it happen. Potential sponsors and volunteers may call (734) 287-8836.

“The countdown is on,” said series founder and Director Greg Bzura. “The best teams from around the world are all vying to come to Taylor to become the world champion. The competition will be great. The crowds will be colorful and spirited. I know everyone from Taylor and this area will give our visitors a warm welcome. I can’t wait.”

Highlights, history and photos of past World Series appear on the City of Taylor’s web site, www.cityoftaylor.com/worldseries. Inquiries about the World Series can also be directed to (734) 374-1447 or TaylorNews@aol.com.