International Teams Show Well En Route to 2012 World Series Championships
In various locations throughout the United States, Little League Baseball and Softball World Series tournaments were contested by players and teams, from Little League to Big League.
The following is a review of each Series in both baseball and softball.
Little League Baseball
Japan Wins 66th Little League Baseball World Series
Kitasuna Little League All-Stars hit five home runs en route to 12-2 victory over Goodlettsville, Tenn., and Japan’s eighth World Series title
Noriatsu Osaka hit three home runs and Kotaro Kiyomiya struck out eight over four innings as Japan defeated Goodlettsville, Tenn., 12-2, to win the 66th Little League Baseball World Series. The game was shortened to five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.
The victory before 24,193 fans at Howard J. Lamade Stadium gave Japan its eighth World Series title, the second in the last three years. Edogawa Minami Little League of Tokyo won the championship in 2010.
“I just told them to play as usual,” manager Yoichi Kubo said through interpreter Yuichi Ishibashi. “I tried to manage as usual, too. I didn’t want to change a thing.”
Kubo won his second World Series championship. He also led the Kitasuna All-Stars to a title in 2001, when it defeated Apopka, Fla., 2-1.
“It is a special feeling,” he said.
Osaka finished the day 4-for-4 with a triple and 15 total bases. His two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth capped the 12-2 triumph. He batted .526 (10-for-19) with three doubles, a triple, four homers, and 11 RBI in five games during the tournament.
Kiyomiya, meanwhile, allowed only a Brock Myers solo home run with one out in the fourth that broke up his no-hit bid. It was Myers’ World Series-best fifth home run.
Kiyomiya and Osaka were quick to complement each other on their efforts.
“This game I did a very good job,” Kiyomiya said. “But I have to thank Osaka.”
“Our pitching staff did really well,” Osaka rebutted. “Kiyomiya did a good job pitching.”
Japan jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first. Kiyomiya singled home Osaka, who led off the inning with a triple to the right-field corner. Two singles later, Rintaro Hirano was hit by a pitch to force in a run.
Osaka extended the lead to 3-0 in the second inning with a solo home run, taking the first pitch he saw from Justin Smith over the fence in left-centerfield.
Yuta Ishida made it 5-0 in the third with a two-run homer to center, taking a 0-2 offering from Smith halfway up the first hill.
Japan tacked on five more runs in the fifth, getting Osaka’s second solo homer and a two-run shot from Hirano. Both blasts came off Blake Osborne.
Tennessee was making its first title game appearance in five trips to South Williamsport. No team from the Volunteer State had ever made this far in the World Series.
“We get home and it’s going to be a carnival,” said Tennessee manager Joey Hale. “There’s a long list of things we got to do when we get back.”
Tennessee played the World Series title game one day after its dramatic 24-16 victory over California in the United States Championship. The Goodlettsville All-Stars blew a 10-run lead in the bottom of the sixth before scoring nine times in the seventh to win it.
Tennessee second baseman Lorenzo Butler hit three home runs in the U.S. title game and wrapped up his Series with a solo homer in the fifth off Osaka that made it 10-2.
“I think we’ll be remembered more for that game,” Hale said. “They showed a lot of heart, character and determination, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Kitasuna Little League’s title game appearance was the third in a row for Japan. A team from Hamamatsu City last year lost to a squad from Huntington Beach, Calif. on Championship Sunday.
Junior League Baseball
Rockledge (Fla.) Little League captures first Junior League Baseball World Series
Rockledge (Fla.) Little League scored two runs in the top of the eighth inning to defeat Aruba North Little League, 12-10, on Saturday to capture the 32nd Junior League Baseball World Series in Taylor, Michigan.
It was Rockledge’s first championship, the second straight for Florida and the fourth overall for the Sunshine State. Aruba North Little League from Oranjestad, Aruba was seeking its first title.
Trevor Payne of Rockledge Little League (Southeast Champions) opened the eighth inning with a walk and later scored on a balk for the deciding margin of victory. Rockledge Little League would later add an insurance run.
Rockledge Little League’s Mason Studstill provided the power in the game, hitting two home runs and driving in four runs, while teammate Andrew Parrish went 3-for-4 with one RBI. Jeandrick Odubar led Aruba’s Latin American team, going 2-for-4 with three RBI.
In the World Series, Studstill shared the top spot in the World Series, hitting .571 with six round trippers and 14 RBI. Meanwhile, Edmar Tromp of Aruba North Little League, who collected two RBI in the championship game, hit .560 in the Series, going 14-for-25 with eight RBI and four stolen bases.
Rockledge Little League broke open a 2-2 tie in the fourth inning on Studstill’s three-run home run and then added two more the following inning to take a 7-2 lead. However, Aruba North Little League continued to fight as the score went back-and-forth until Latin America scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning to send the game into extra innings. The game lasted 3hours, 26 minutes.
Rockledge Little League won all six games it played in the World Series, capturing five of six by two runs or less. Aruba North Little League finished 4-2, scoring 12 or more runs in three games.
Both teams advanced to the World Series championship game after winning semifinal contests. Rockledge Little League knocked off Oil Belt Little League (Southwest Champions) from Corpus Christi, Texas, 11-5, and Aruba North Little League defeated Las Puentes Little League from San Nicholas de Los Garza, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, 5-2.
Senior League Baseball
Juvenil de Guatemala Little League brings home first Senior League Baseball World Series Championship
Juvenil de Guatemala Little League from Guatemala City, Guatemala, completed its impressive run through the 52nd Senior League Baseball World Series in Bangor, Maine, on Saturday, defeating Lemon Grove (Calif.) Little League, 6-3, to win its first championship. The Latin America Champions outscored its opponents, 39-8, to finish 5-0 in the World Series.
Lemon Grove Little League, the West Region Champions, entered the championship game with a 5-0 record, but couldn’t get past Alejandro Amezquita, who threw five innings, giving up two earned runs and three hits en route to the victory. He finished the Series 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA.
Juvenil de Guatemala Little League scored three runs each in both the third and sixth innings, with the final three runs coming home on a passed ball and two bases loaded walks.
In a game that lasted 2:18, Julio Alvorado went 2-for-3 and drove in two runs for Juvenil de Guatemala Little League, finishing at the top of the tournament leader board with a .545 batting average (6-for-11), two walks and two stolen bases. Teammate Juan Diego Montes finished in the top 10 in hitting at a .417 clip (5-for-12) with one home run, one triple, one double and seven RBI.
Ray Peterson of Lemon Grove Little League finished behind Alvorado offensively, hitting .533 (8-for-15) with four doubles, nine RBI and six stolen bases.
Juvenil de Guatemala Little League proved pitching wins games, as its pitching staff led all teams with a 1.46 ERA and one shutout, while holding its opponents to a .128 batting average. The Lemon Grove Little League pitchers finished with a 2.20 team ERA.
The championship game was set up by semifinal victories - Juvenil de Guatemala Little League defeated South Beaches/Greater West Melbourne Little League (Southeast Champions) from Brevard County, Florida, 5-2, and Lemon Grove Little League got past Western Little League (Central l Champions) from Grand Rapids, Michigan, 6-1.
Big League Baseball
Puerto Rico Wins Big League Baseball World Series for Second Time in Three Years
District 1 from San Juan, Puerto Rico came into the Big League Baseball World Series championship game Thursday night in Easley, S.C., having outscored its opponents, 53-3, in winning all five of its games.
But, it was District 1 from South Carolina that struck first scoring two runs in the opening inning and adding a third run in the top of third to take a 3-0 lead. South Carolina scored in the opening frame on a wild pitch and an RBI single by right fielder Stephen McKnight, both coming with two outs. Three walks sandwiched around a single plated the third inning run.
The team from Puerto Rico, which was hitting .373 as a team coming into the championship game, was rejuvenated by what turned out to be the big hit of the game in the bottom of the third inning.
Catcher Mikael Cintron led off the inning with a single and designated hitter Rafael Olivares reached when he was hit by a pitch from South Carolina starter Tucker Burgess, who had retired Puerto Rico in order in the first two innings. Left fielder Alexis Cruz, the leadoff hitter, then hit a three-run home run to left field and in an instant the game was tied.
Puerto Rico tacked on a go-ahead run later in the third inning on an RBI single by first baseman Alexis Olmeda, and added another run in the fifth inning on an RBI single to left field by second baseman Victor Caratini to give Puerto Rico a two-run cushion.
In the sixth inning, Olivares provided some breathing room stretching the lead to four runs with a clutch, two-out single to left field that drove in a pair of runs with two outs, and completed the scoring in Puerto Rico’s 7-3 victory.
Yadiel Cruz, the third pitcher of five pitchers used by Puerto Rico, entered the game in the third inning. The right-hander went the final 4.0 innings allowing only two hits while striking out five and keeping the host team from South Carolina off the scoreboard to earn his second win of the tournament. Yamil Rivera came on in the seventh inning to get the final out and earn his first save. South Carolina loaded the bases in the final inning before Rivera got the last out on a strike out.
Burgess, a right-hander, went five innings for South Carolina allowing five runs, four of those earned, and striking out three while suffering the loss.
Puerto Rico had eight hits in the game and South Carolina finished with six hits.
District 1 from Puerto Rico won the 2010 Big League Baseball World Series and lost to District 7 from South Carolina in last year’s championship game, 9-7. It is the fourth overall Big League Baseball World Series title for a team from Puerto Rico in the 44-year history of the tournament.
Little League Softball
Eastdale Little League Dominant in Winning Little League Softball World Series
Eastdale Little League from Albuquerque, N.M., left little doubt who was the best team in the 10-team Little League Softball World Series field completing a six-game sweep with a 16-1, five-inning victory over Windermere (Fla.) Softball Little League this evening in the championship game. The seven-day World Series was played in Portland, Ore.
The New Mexico Champions earned a berth in the championship game with a 12-1 semifinal win over Riverfield Little League from Anderson, Ind., while Windermere Softball Little League earned its spot in the championship game with a 1-0 victory over Makakilo Kapolei Honokai Hale Little League from Kapolei, Hawaii, in eight innings.
In both the semifinal and championship games, Eastdale Little League scored multiple runs in the first inning on its way to victory. In the semifinal contest, the new Little League Softball World Series Champions scored 11 runs, and in the championship game they scored four runs.
After taking that early 4-0 lead in the championship game, Eastdale Little League, the second champion from New Mexico in the 39-year history of the World Series, and first from the state since 1984 when Albuquerque Little League won it, they added one run in the second inning and put the game away with an 11-run fifth inning.
Andrea Howard led the attack for Eastdale Little League with three hits and five RBI, while Ariana Strunk had a pair of hits and three RBI. Both Howard and Strunk had three-run triples in the big fifth inning outburst. Jessica McAlister also had three hits.
Shannon Stein went the distance for the World Series Champions earning her fourth win of the tournament. She allowed the first four hits of the tournament against her in the title game while also allowing her only earned run in a total of 16 innings of work. She had one strikeout in the championship game.
Eastdale Little League won all six of its games in the World Series by a combined score of 67-5. The pitchers combined to post a team ERA of 0.39 while the team hit .355 in the Series. They scored 10 or more runs in four times, and scored nine runs in one of the other contests.
Maria Pagane had two of the four hits for Windermere Softball Little League, which was also looking for its first Little League Softball World Series title.
Junior League Softball
Nunaka Valley Little League celebrates first Junior League Softball World Series Crown
The Nunaka Valley (West Region Champions) Little League softball team from Anchorage, Alaska, captured the 14th Junior League Softball World Series in Kirkland, Wash., on Saturday, defeating Layritz Little League (Canada Region Champion) from Victoria, British Columbia, 6-2.
Teammates mobbed center fielder Felila Manu after she caught the final out, giving Nunaka Valley its first Junior League Softball World Series title.
Nunaka Valley Little League scored its six runs in the first three innings, including four in the second frame, highlighted by Manu’s two-run single. Pitcher Lauren Syrup improved her Series record to 4-1 with a 2.67 ERA.
Taria Page of Nunaka Valley Little League put on a hitting demonstration during the World Series batting .579, with four home runs, two triples, one double, 12 runs scored and eight RBI.
Canada’s Stephanie Galitzine, who went 2-for-3 with a walk in the championship game, and Jenna Saulnier each, hit .467 in the Series.
Nunaka Valley Little League defeated Kirkland American/National Little League from Kirkland, Wash., 9-2, in one semifinal while Layritz Little League got by ASOFEM Little League from Maunabo, Puerto Rico, 5-2 to set up the championship game.
The Nunaka Valley Little League finished the World Series with a 5-1 record, while Layritz Little League won three of its five Series games.
Senior League Softball
ASOFEM Little League from Puerto Rico Captures Senior Softball World Series Championship
ASOFEM Little League, the Latin American Region Champion from Maunabo, Puerto Rico, won the Senior League Softball World Series, 6-4 behind a complete-game effort from winning pitcher Jocelyn De Leon.
Trailing early, Puerto Rico scored three runs in the top of the fifth inning to take a 5-4 lead off of Delaware District 3’s pitcher Nicole Widen. Highlighting the rally was a run-scoring double to center field by Yahelis Munoz.
De Leon, who scattered eight hits and struck out nine, overcame a rough third inning to secure ASOFEM Little League’s second World Series title (first, 2008).
In the third frame, Woodbridge Little League from Greenwood, Del., scored three runs to take a 4-2 lead. Kaitlyn Slater doubled to the base of the left-field fence, scoring two for a 3-2 Delaware lead. Hailey Andrews singled to center, scoring Slater for the third run of the inning.
De Leon, with one out and the bases loaded in the top of the third inning, had lined a sacrifice fly to center field to put ASOFEM Little League ahead, 2-1.
Karla Garcia went 3-for-4 for ASOFEM Little League, which avenged a loss in the 2011 championship game.
ASOFEM Little League finished the World Series tournament with a 5-1 record, having outscored its opponents, 33-22. The 2012 champion’s only defeat was a 13-2 loss to East Region Champion West Cumberland Little League from, Cumberland County, N.J.
Big League Softball
In Convincing Style, Philippines Becomes First International Big League Softball World Series Champion
Mary Joy Floranza belted a two-out, two-run home run over the right-center field fence at Bud Vanderberg Park in Kalamazoo, Mich., to earn Philippines District 1 a 14-2, five-inning victory over California District 37, and become the first team from the International Region to be crowned Big League Softball World Series Champion.
Leading 9-0 entering the fifth inning, Floranza’s homer started a five-run rally to close out the game.
Hanging three runs in the first inning and four more in the second inning, pushed the Asia-Pacific champs out to a quick 7-0 lead. Winning pitcher Rizza Bernardino keyed the offense with a long two-run home run in the second inning.
Bernardino, allowed two runs on five hits. She threw 42 strikes in a 53-pitch, complete-game victory.
Krisna Paguican was 2-for-2 with four runs scored and two runs batted in, while Michelle Lentija and Queeny Sabobo were both 2-for-3 for the winners.
The Philippines team from Manilla, which lost in the title game each of the past two seasons, opened the World Series with consecutive losses, before putting together a seven-game win streak en route to the championship.
Manager Anna Santiago guided the Philippines to its third consecutive Big League Softball World Series.
The West Champions, the first team from California to reach the title game since 2005, entered the game outscoring its opponents, 71-37, with three 10-run rule wins. In the title game, U.S. Champions managed just two runs after falling behind 14-0.