More teams try to reach World Series win column Monday in Taylor

TAYLOR, MICHIGAN – The best teams of 13- and 14-year-old players are competing to become the world champions of Junior League baseball during the 26th annual World Series at Heritage Park in Taylor.

Day two takes place Monday in what has been called the “big brother” of the Little League World Series for 12-year-olds in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Monday’s Schedule

11 a.m. South Bend, Indiana (USA Central champion) vs. Upper Deerfield, New Jersey (USA East). South Bend debuts at the World Series, while New Jersey attempts to add to its 1-0 record.

2 p.m. Nepean, Ontario (Canadian national champion) vs. Jakarta, Indonesia (Asia-Pacific champion). Both teams want to rebound from opening day losses. A second loss makes it difficult to make it to the International Pool championship game on Friday.

5 p.m. Alexandria, Virginia (USA South champion) vs. El Campo, Texas (USA Southwest). After a tough loss to New Jersey on Sunday, Virginia hopes to rebound. Another win by powerful El Campo puts Texas in the driver’s seat in the USA Pool.

8 p.m. Guaymas, Sonora (Mexican national champion) vs. Maracaibo, Venezuela (Latin America champ). This promises to be one of the most fun games of the week at Heritage Park, full of color and noise. Mexico will try to remain undefeated, while Venezuela plays its opener in the World Series.

Two other teams – Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany (Europe/Middle East/Africa champion), and Pearl City, Hawaii (USA West champ) have the day off, but resume action on Tuesday.

Sunday’s results

Teams from Germany, Mexico, Texas and New Jersey won their opening games of the 2006 Junior League World Series.

Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany, had nine hits and took advantage of four errors to defeat Jakarta, Indonesia, in a wild 10-8 game to open the weeklong World Series for the best teams of 13- and 14-year-old baseball players. Joseph Bonish IV, in only his second at-bat after knee surgery two months ago, stroked a home run for Germany, which is the champion of the Europe/Middle East/Africa region. Teammates Andre Porterfield and Evan Belschner had two hits apiece. Stephen Braden got the win in relief. Yoshi Wibisono was 2-for-4 and scored twice for Indonesia, which is playing in a World Series for the first time ever. Jakarta is champion of the Asia-Pacific region.

Chet Godfrey pitched a one-hitter to lead Upper Deerfield, New Jersey, to a 6-1 victory over Alexandria, Virginia. Godfrey, Barry Larro and Gage Mick had two hits apiece for New Jersey, which is the USA East region champion. Joseph Marino had an infield hit for Virginia, the USA South champ.

Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico, pounded 10 hits on the way to a 7-2 win over Nepean, Ontario, Canada. Jesus Bocardo and Luis Valdez had two hits apiece for the Mexican national champions as pitcher Alan Barragan earned the victory. Jesse O’Byrne and Steven Renaud had two hits each for Nepean, the Canadian national champions. Team Nepean has seven players who competed in the Little League World Series two years ago in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

El Campo, Texas, handed Pearl City, Hawaii, one of its worst losses in World Series play, 9-0. A three-run homer by shortstop Andrew Kinder in the first inning was all that the USA Southwest champions needed. Kinder knocked in five of his team’s nine runs. Teammate Matthew Hamman pitched a three-hit shutout, striking out eight. Pearl City is making its third straight appearance in the Junior League World Series.

How it works

Teams compete in round-robin format in either the International or USA pool. Four games are scheduled Sunday through Thursday. The top two teams in each pool play for the International championship at 5 p.m. Friday and the USA championship at 8 p.m.

The International and USA champions play for the world championship at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Admission is only $4 per day per carload or $7 for a pass for the entire week. Both fees include parking. Heritage Park is located at 12111 Pardee Road, between Goddard and Northline roads, one mile east of Telegraph Road.

Monday’s games will be broadcast over the Internet at www.cityoftaylor.com/listen. Dan Neil will broadcast the 11 a.m. game, followed by Andrew Law at 2 p.m., Scott Held at 5 p.m. and Kirkland Crawford at 8 p.m.

The world championship game on Saturday will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis by ESPN.

Taylor has hosted the Junior League World Series since its inception in 1981. Greg Bzura founded the event and has been director ever since.

Stars of Tomorrow

A number of current and former Major League players once competed in the Junior League World Series. They include Gary Sheffield, Eric Bedard, Brett Myers, brothers Jose and Javier Valentin, Erubiel Durazo, Chad Hermansen, Derek Bell, Delino DeShields and Shannon Withem.

Sheffield and Bell were teammates on the Belmont Heights team from Tampa, Florida, that won the Junior League world championship in 1982.

Other future stars to play in Taylor have included Chris Dingman and Steve Reinprecht, Junior League teammates in 1989 with Edmonton, Alberta, who went on to play in the National Hockey League. Mark “Bo” Pelini, a member of the 1981 champions from Boardman, Ohio, went on to play safety for Ohio State University’s football team and is now defensive coordinator at Louisiana State University.

They’re Champions Already

Each of the USA champions had to beat other all-star teams in their own state, then win a state championship and then defeat other state champions in regional tournaments in various sections of the country.

The teams from Canada and Mexico emerged as national champions after defeating the best teams in other provinces or states. Canada plays in the World Series every year. Mexico – celebrating the 20th anniversary of its first appearance in Taylor – receives an automatic berth every other year, alternating with Puerto Rico.

The teams from Indonesia, Germany and Venezuela beat national champions from other countries to make it to Taylor.

To date, teams have come from 27 different states. Indonesia debuted this year and became the 16th country to play in the World Series.

Umpires in the series also meet the challenging qualifications to participate in the series. An umpire cannot participate until such time as he or she has previously umpired in state and regional championships. Prior to this year, umpires had come to Taylor from 31 states and 10 other countries.

Those with Internet access can also find the complete schedule, results, team profiles history and photos of the World Series on www.cityoftaylor.com/worldseries.