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 > Little League Online > Media > Little League News Archive > 2006 > El Campo, Texas Wins Junior League Baseball World Series

El Campo, Texas Wins Junior League Baseball World Series

Editor’s note: Complete scores from all the games can be found here at http://www.littleleague.org/series/2006divisions/jlbb/series.htm
TAYLOR, Mich. (Aug. 19, 2006) - The team from El Campo, Texas, was not satisfied just to be in Taylor, Mich., for the 26th annual Junior League World Series - Its goal was the world championship.

At World Series Field in Heritage Park, the Southwest Region champions won the Junior League Baseball world title for 13- and 14-year-olds with a 2-1 victory over the Mexico Region champions from Guaymas, Sonora.

El Campo scored two runs in the first inning, rode the arm of unbeaten pitcher Matthew Hamman and survived a seventh-inning rally to win its first World Series and the third for a team from Texas.

“We play one game at a time,” said Texas Coach Mark Van Gorp. “These boys were committed to playing the game of baseball. They knew what it took to be champion and they did everything correct. You can tell in the boys’ eyes they have done something that no one else has done, especially in El Campo. It’s just a great feeling.”

In the first inning, the first two Texas batters reached base and scored what would be all the runs needed to win. Holden Whitley walked, advanced to second on a balk by Mexico pitcher Judas Gallardo. He moved to third on a single by Hamman and scored on a single by Landon Appling. Hamman and Appling then executed a double steal, with Hamman scoring to make it 2-0.

Hamman, who was 11-0 in postseason play, took a two-hitter into the last inning. In the seventh, Mexico’s Abel Bocardo was hit by a pitch and went to third on a double by Jose Mayoral. Jose Meza walked to load the bases with nobody out. After Alfonso Hernandez struck out, Luis Figueroa’s sacrifice fly scored Bocardo. It was the only earned run allowed in 20 innings of pitching by Hamman.

It was the third win in Taylor for Hamman, tying a World Series record. The eight batters he struck out, brought his three-game total to 27 (in 20 innings), another series record. The previous mark of 25 was set in 1992 by Donald Caesar of Lake Charles, La.

The combined 50 strikeouts by Hamman and teammates Andrew Kinder (20) and Whitley (three) set a team record. The previous record of 46 was set by last year’s world champions from Panama City, Panama.

Appling, the El Campo catcher, batted a series-high .706 (12-for-17). Kinder was 9-for-18 and knocked in a team-leading 10 runs. Hamman scored nine times.

El Campo was the first team from the Southwest Region to win a Junior Baseball world championship since the region was created in 2002. Teams from Spring, Texas, won the world title in the 1991 and 1996 when the state reached the World Series representing the South Region.

This was the 20th anniversary of the first year Mexico first played in the World Series, but the first time since 1999 that a team from that country played in the finals. It was the fourth appearance in the World Series for a team from Guaymas. Only one team from Mexico has been Junior League Baseball world champion. The Lugo Montes IMSS of Mexicali, Baja Calif., Mexico, won the title in 1988.