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South Carolina District 1 Wins Big League Baseball World Series Championship
South Carolina District 1 entered the 37th Big League Baseball World Series tournament as the two-time defending champions, and found itself in a battle for the title this year.
After the West Region Champions opened a 3-0 lead in the first inning, then led 5-1 going into the bottom of the fourth, South Carolina District 1 tied the game in the bottom half of the inning. The defending champions took the lead with four runs in the bottom of the fifth, and added an insurance run in the sixth inning to set the final score.
Going into the semifinals, Florida — representing the U.S. South, and Venezuela — representing Latin America, had amassed 4-0 records in pool play. The West champs had lost a 5-3 game to Latin America during pool play, while the defending champions boasted a 4-1 record.
The semifinals featured two upsets, as West pitcher David Smith held the South scoreless for eight innings, and later drove in the winning run to help his team take a 1-0 victory. The title game was set after South Carolina District 1, trailing 4-0 after three innings, powered back with three runs in the fifth, and four runs in the sixth to take a 7-5 victory.
The host team's loss to Florida was not its only close call. To earn a spot in the semifinals South Carolina District 1 had to defeat a solid U.S. Central team from Chicago, 5-3. Chicago ended pool play with a 2-2 record.
The U.S Southwest (Biloxi, Miss.), U.S. East (District 2, Del.) and Canada (Ottawa, Ontario) traded wins among the three teams, with Mississippi defeating Canada, Canada defeating Delaware, and Delaware defeating Mississippi. All finished the tournament with 1-3 records in pool play.
Guam made its third consecutive trip to the Big League World Series representing the Asia/Pacific Region. It picked up its first Series victory after going winless the past two years. Poland, the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) representative, was the only team to go home winless this year.
Among the Big League World Series festivities, Easley held a week-long celebration welcoming the players, coaches and parents as guests of the city. The week started with a home run contest and a street dance. Special daily events included a hot dog eating contest, a special appearance by the Zooperstars, and a show by Woof Sports' Frisbee-catching dogs. On Saturday, the city's Main Street was blocked off for a cookout honoring the players.
The California team had dedicated its season to the memory of Janice Marie Heyne, wife of Tim Heyne. The Heynes, who were active in the Thousand Oaks Little League program, were victims of a random act of violence on Memorial Day. Tim was shot four times in the back, but he survived and is recovering. Janice did not survive.
Here are two action photos from the games of the 2005 Big League Baseball World Series in Easley, S.C.