The final four is set for the 38th annual Junior League Baseball World Series. Two games are scheduled for Saturday (August 18) at Taylor’s Heritage Park to determine the United States and International championships for 2018.
The winners of Saturday’s games play for the world championship of the 13- and 14-year-old division of Little League Baseball on Sunday. Here is the weekend schedule:
SATURDAY (August 18)
11:30 a.m. Home Run Derby Phase 1 at the Senior Field at the Taylor South Little League Complex at Heritage Park.
3 p.m. International Championship Game: The Asia-Pacific champions from the Shing-Ming Junior Little League of Taoyuan, Chinese Taipei (2-0) vs. the Mexico national champions from the Trevino Kelly Little League in Trevino Kelly League in Reynosa, Tamaulipas (3-1).
6 p.m. USA Championship Game: The USA Southwest champions from the Lufkin Little League of Lufkin, Texas (3-0) vs. the USA West champions from the Manhattan Beach Little League in Manhattan Beach, California (3-1)
9 p.m. Home Run Derby Phase 2 at World Series Field at the Taylor South Little League Complex at Heritage Park.
Noon World Championship Game: USA Champion vs. International Champion
Heritage Park is located at 12111 Pardee Road in Taylor. Admission is $5 per carload per day and includes parking.
Saturday’s games will be broadcast via streaming video with play by play on the website www.ustream.tv/channel/jlws. The world championship game will be broadcast on ESPN2.
The Junior League World Series is the “older brother” of the more famous Little League World Series for 12-year-olds in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The tournament was founded in Taylor in 1981 and has been hosted by the city since.
The JLWS was originally for 13-year-olds. The first World Series had just four American teams. The Junior division eventually expanded to include 14-year-olds as well, which enabled more nations to compete for regional championships and qualify for the World Series.
This year, 12 teams completed during the weeklong tournament – the most in JLWS history. Teams now come as far away as Australia and the Asia Pacific, but this year Little League International authorized a Michigan District 5 champion to play as a host team to even up the pools at six American teams and six International teams. The Brownstown Township all-stars served as the first host team.
Greg Bzura, a retired banker and former Taylor City Councilman, founded the JLWS and remains the director in the event’s 38th year. He credits hundreds of volunteers with making the World Series happen.
Teams from Chinese Taipei have won the last five JLWS. Six members of the current Texas team in the JLWS played in last year’s Little League World Series, finishing runner-up to the world champions from Japan.
Manhattan Beach, California (USA West) 9, Chicago, Illinois (USA Central) 5: The USA West champions from Manhattan Beach, California, earned the right to play the Southwest champs from Lufkin, Texas, for the national championship of the Junior division of Little League Baseball on Saturday night. On Thursday, Manhattan Beach led from the first inning on, scoring six runs in the second inning. The teams combined for 23 hits. California's Robert Love went 3-for-4, scored twice and knocked in three runs. Teammate Jackson Shea went 2-for-4, scored twice and had an RBI. They each had two doubles. Wyatt Attkisson led Illinois, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. California improved to 3-1. Illinois ends its run at 2-2.
Reynosa, Tamaulipas (Mexico) 7, Sydney, New South Wales (Australia) 2: The national champions of Mexico earned the right to play the Asia-Pacific champions from Chinese Taipei for the International championship of the Junior League Baseball World Series. On Thursday night, Mexico defeated the Australian national champions from Sydney, New South Wales, 7-2, to keep their World Series dreams alive. Mexico scored seven times in the second and third inning. Victor Sanchez went 3-for-4 and scored a run. Teammate Samuel Juarez doubled, scored twice and knocked in a run. Isaac Miranda had a hit and knocked in two runs. Mexico improved to 3-1. Australia ends its run at 2-2.
Teams knocked out of contention for the Junior League Baseball World Series championship with a second loss in the tournament have been playing crossover consolation games. The eight teams – which arrived in Taylor as champions in their own right – are Michigan District 5 champion Brownstown Little League from Brownstown Township; the USA Central region champion Warren Park Youth Baseball League in Chicago, Illinois; the USA East regional champion Elk-McKean Little League from Kane, Wilcox, Johnsonburg and Ridgway, Pennsylvania; the USA Southeast champion Elbert County Little League from Elberton, Georgia; the Australia national champion from the Hills Little League in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; the Canada national champions from the Diamond Academy Little League in Mirabel, Quebec; the Europe/Africa regional champion from the Emilia Romagna Little League from Emilia Romagna, Italy; and the Latin America champion from the Aruba Center Little League in Santa Cruz, Aruba.
For more information about the Junior League World Series, visit the website www.cityoftaylor.com/worldseries. The World Series has an active Facebook page, www.facebook.com/juniorleagueworldseries. The World Series’ Instagram page is active during World Series week. Search jlws_taylor.