World Series Final 4 set in Taylor

TAYLOR, MICHIGAN – El Campo, Texas, and Pearl City, Hawaii, will play for the United States championship of Junior League baseball at 8 p.m. Friday at Heritage Park in Taylor.

In the International championship game at 5 p.m., Maracaibo, Venezuela, will play Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico.

The winners of those two games will play for the 2006 World Series championship at 5 p.m. Saturday. The game will be broadcast on tape delay by ESPN.

The 26th annual international tournament for the best teams of 13- and 14-year-old players completed pool play Thursday. Texas and Hawaii needed wins to play Friday – and they got them.

Texas (3-1), the USA Southwest champion, stunned Upper Deerfield, New Jersey, 10-0, in a game stopped in the sixth inning by the 10-run mercy rule. While pitcher Matthew Hamman was throwing a three-hitter and striking out 10 batters, his Texas teammates had 11 hits. Andrew Kinder was 4-for-4 with two doubles, three runs and three runs batted in. Teammate Michael Van Gorp stroked a home run in the fifth inning. New Jersey completed pool play in third place with a 2-2 record.

Hawaii (3-1), the USA West champion making its third straight trip to Taylor, got the win it needed, 5-1, over South Bend, Indiana. Kahana Neal pitched a four-hitter for Hawaii and teammates Ian Sato and Edwin Izumigawa had two hits apiece. Indiana ends pool play with a 1-3 record.

Venezuela (4-0) remained the only unbeaten team in the World Series with a 13-1 win over Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany, in a game stopped in the fifth inning by the mercy rule. Christopher Johnson homered for Venezuela, while teammate Douglas Cueto was 2-for-2, scored twice and knocked in two runs. Javier Garcia threw a three-hitter, striking out six. Germany finished pool play 1-3.

Mexico (2-2) lost to Jakarta, Indonesia (1-3), but still qualified for the International Pool championship. Jakarta – the first team from Indonesia to play in a World Series, scored in the bottom of the seventh to win the game on Indonesia’s Independence Day. Adi Hutomo had two of his team’s seven hits. Yoshi Wibosono earned the win, allowing just one earned run.

Friday's schedule
10 a.m. Indonesia (1-3) vs. Virginia (1-3) (Fifth place consolation game)
1 p.m. Germany (1-3) vs. Indiana (1-3) (Fourth place consolation game)
5 p.m. Venezuela (4-0) vs. Mexico (2-2) International Pool Championship
8 p.m. Texas (3-1) vs. Hawaii (3-1) USA Pool Championship Game

Saturday's schedule
TBA Home Run Derby
TBA Canada (2-2) vs. New Jersey (2-2) (Third place consolation game)
5 p.m. World Championship Game

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

International Pool
Maracaibo, Venezuela  4-0
Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico 2-2
Nepean, Ontario, Canada  2-2
Ramstein AFB, Germany  1-3
Jakarta, Indonesia   1-3

The Field of Dreams
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.

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.

Friday’s games are scheduled to be broadcast over the Internet at Kirkland Crawford will broadcast the 5 p.m. game, followed by Jay Strassner and possibly Ted Fournier at 8 p.m.

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 (soon) photos of the World Series on