30th JLWS wraps up play

Photo by Dave Gorgon

Photo by Dave Gorgon

California players come off the field breathing a sigh of relief after beating Virginia Thursday night and qualifying for the United State championship game on Friday night against Texas.

TAYLOR– The final four teams squared off Friday in the 30th annual Junior League World Series at Heritage Park.

The Asia-Pacific champions from Chinese Taipei was scheduled to meet the Latin America champs from Guatemala for the International championship at 5 p.m. The USA West champs from El Monte, Calif., will play the USA Southwest champs from Tyler, Texas, for the United States championship at 8 p.m.

Winners of those two games then played for the world championship of the 13- and 14-year-old division of Little League Baseball at 4 p.m. yesterday in a game broadcast live on ESPN2.

The all-stars from the Chung-Ching Junior Little League of Taipei City, Chinese Taipei (4-0), at press time was the only undefeated team in the 10-team World Series. The all-stars from the Javier Little League in Guatemala City, Guatemala, (3-1), finished runner-up in the International Pool.

Friday marked the first time either country has played in the Junior League World Series for the best teams of 13- and 14-year-olds, which was founded in the city 30 years ago and has been played here since. Taipei, then known as Taiwan in Little League circles, played 24 times for the Little League championship for 12-year-olds in Williamsport, Pa. – and won it a record 17 times. By contrast, this was the first world series anywhere for a team from Guatemala.

While this is the first time in Taylor for the all-stars from the El Monte Little League and the Rose Capital East League from Tyler, teams from California and Texas are among the most frequent visitors to the Junior League World the Junior League World Series.

California teams from have represented the West in Taylor an average of every other year. This is the 15th appearance by a team from that state in the series. West region champions have won the JLWS world championship 10 times, more than any other region in the world. California teams have won it four times: Rowland Heights (1987), Thousand Oaks (1994), Mission Viejo (1998) and LaMirada (2003). Scottsdale, Ariz. – another West region champion – won the World Series in 2009.

This is the 13th time a team from Texas is playing in the JLWS. Teams from Texas have won the world championship three times: spring in 1991 and 1996 and El Campo in 2006.

The Junior League World Series is indeed the “big brother” of the storied Little League World Series for 12-year-olds. In Taylor, the 10 teams are divided into two pools: International and USA. The five teams in each pool play each other in a round-robin format with the top two teams playing again for the pool championship.

On opening day, Aug. 15, Chinese Taipei gave Guatemala its only defeat, 7-2.

On Aug. 18, California defeated Texas, 5-1. California’s only loss came Aug. 16 against Jeffersonville, Ind., 11-3. Texas defeated the same Indiana team, 7-0, on opening day.