More Junior League World Series action Thursday in Taylor

TAYLOR, MICHIGAN – The final day of pool play is here in the Junior League World Series and the two spots in the USA championship game are up for grabs at Heritage Park.

The 26th annual World Series of baseball features the top 10 teams of 13- and 14-year-old baseball players in the world.

Heading into Thursday’s action, there is a three-way tie for first between Hawaii, New Jersey and Texas in the five-team USA Pool in the 26th annual World Series. All three teams play Thursday.

In the International Pool, Maracaibo, Venezuela has earned a spot in the tournament semifinals against Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico.

Thursday’s schedule
11 a.m. Mexico (2-1) vs. Indonesia (0-3)
2 p.m. Indiana (1-2) vs. Hawaii (2-1)
5 p.m. Germany (1-2) vs. Venezuela (3-0)
8 p.m. New Jersey (2-1) vs. Texas (2-1)

Friday's schedule
5 p.m. International Pool Championship: Venezuela vs. Mexico
8 p.m. USA Pool Championship
 
Saturday's schedule
5 p.m. World Championship Game

Wednesday’s results
Maracaibo, Venezuela (3-0), earned a spot in the International final game of the Junior League World Series with an 11-0 victory over Jakarta, Indonesia. The Latin American champions pounded nine hits, including home runs by Andres and Douglas Cueto. Andres pitched a two-hitter in the game, which was stopped after six innings by the 10-run mercy rule. Indonesia (0-3), champions of the Asia-Pacific region, is making its first appearance in a World Series.

In the other International Pool game on Wednesday, Nepean, Ontario (2-2), scored 10 runs in the second inning in a 13-3 win over Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany (1-2). The Canadian national champions had 13 hits – two each by Phillippe Brunet, Jesse O’Byrne, Steven Renaud and Chad Keohane. O’Byrne scored three runs. Brunet, who had two doubles, knocked in three runs. Winning pitcher Matthew DeLuca pitched a four-hitter. The game was halted after five innings by the 10-run mercy rule.

El Campo, Texas, won a big game in the USA Pool, taking South Bend, Indiana, 5-1. The USA Southwest champs (2-1) had 10 hits – two each by Matthew Hamman, Landon Appling, Michael Van Gorp and Anthony Cruz. Andrew Kinder pitched a five-hitter and struck out nine to earn the victory. Mike Cass had two hits, including a triple, and scored the only run for the USA Central champs (1-2).

Chace Numata doubled home Kahanu Neal in the bottom of the sixth to give Pearl City, Hawaii, a 8-7 win over Alexandria, Virginia. The win kept Hawaii (2-1) alive in USA Pool play, while Virginia (1-3) was eliminated. The USA West champs exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 7-2 lead, but the USA South champs came right back with five in the top of the fifth to tie the game. Neal had two hits for Hawaii and Zachary Quigley had two hits for Virginia, but the teams combined for nine errors. Robert Brown earned the victory in three innings of one-hit, shutout relief. He struck out seven and walked one. Hawaii needs a win against Indiana Thursday to play for the USA championship on Friday.

Also Notable: Two family combinations took part in ceremonial first pitches prior to the start of Wednesday games. John Paul Appling pitched to his grandson, Landon, prior to the start of the Texas-Indiana game. John-Paul, 68, was a member of the El Campo, Texas, team that played in the World Series of the Little Bigger League (13- to 15-year-olds) in New Jersey when he was 14 in 1952. Landon, currently 14, is a member of the current Team Texas playing in Taylor. Scott and Keanu Sato took part in the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Hawaii-Virginia game. Scott was a member of the 1984 world championship team from Pearl City. Keanu is a member of the current Hawaii squad… Danny Gilreath, coach of the 2002 world champions from Cartersville, Georgia, arrived in Taylor for the 2006 series.

Pool Play Standings
USA Pool
Upper Deerfield, New Jersey 2-1
El Campo, Texas   2-1
Pearl City, Hawaii   2-1
South Bend, Indiana  1-2
Alexandria, Virginia   1-3

International Pool
Maracaibo, Venezuela  3-0
Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico 2-1
Nepean, Ontario, Canada  2-2
Ramstein AFB, Germany  1-2
Jakarta, Indonesia   0-3

Heritage Park is located at 12111 Pardee Road in Taylor. Games are played on World Series Field. The park is between Goddard and Northline roads, just a mile east of Telegraph Road, and easily accessible from I-94, I-75 and Southfield Freeway.
 
How it works
The Taylor World Series is considered the “big brother” of the famous Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Boys play for the love of the sport and to become world champions. Heritage Park is located at 12111 Pardee Road between Goddard and Northline roads.

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.

At least three of Thursday’s games are scheduled to be broadcast over the Internet at www.cityoftaylor.com/listen. Andrew Law will broadcast the 11 a.m. game, followed by Dan Neil at 2 p.m. and the team of Brent Brown and Mauricio Gomes 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 Already Champions
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.