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Pearl City, Hawaii, Wins 2007 Junior League World Series in Taylor, Mich.

Editor’s note: Complete scores from all the games can be found here at http://www.littleleague.org/series/2007divisions/blsb/series.htm
TAYLOR, Mich. – Pearl City Little League from Hawaii, District 7 defeated Illam Central Little League from Makati City, Philippines, 6-2, to win the 2007 Junior Baseball World Series championship played at Heritage Park in Taylor, Mich.

In Aug. 2005, Kawika “Sumi” Pruett was among the disappointed spectators in Taylor, Mich., after the Pearl City, Hawaii, baseball team lost in the United States championship game of the Junior League World Series at Heritage Park.

Pruett, then 11, was there for all the games played by his brother, Alika. That night, he went to console his mother and predicted, “Don’t worry mom, I’ll bring you back here.”

Two years later, the Pruetts were back in Taylor – and Sumi was one of the main reasons. The Pearl City team won the Hawaii state championship and then the United States West Region title to qualify for a return to Taylor for this year’s Junior League World Series for 13-14-year-olds.

Pruett was 2-for-3 with three RBI in the championship game, which was televised live on ESPNU. He also scored once and was part of two important double plays, including one that ended the game.

This was the fourth straight Junior Baseball World Series appearance for Pearl City and its first championship since 1984. In the three previous years, the team from Hawaii lost in the United States championship game. In all, Pearl City has represented the USA West Region six times.
One other team from Hawaii – Aiea – won World Series championships in 2000 and again in 2001 and is the only team to win consecutive Junior Baseball world titles.

Five players and Manager Mitchell Yamato were part of the 2006 and 2007 World Series in Taylor. The players were Kahana Neal, Chace Numata, Kainalu Chmolack, Isaac Shim and Keanu Sato.

Sato and his father, Scott, are now part of the World Series record book. Scott Sato played for the 1984 world championship team from Pearl City, making them the only father and son to win the JLWS.

The three teams represented their region for the first time. They were the Asia-Pacific Region champions from the Philippines; the Latin America champions from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and the team from Kirovograd, Ukraine, champions of the Europe-Middle East-Africa (EMEA) Region. Representatives of each team placed their nation’s flag on the Hill of Champions.
Prior to this year, no Asia-Pacific team had won more than one Junior Baseball World Series game. This year, Team Philippines won five straight games before falling in the world championship game.

Philippines Manager Catherine Tanco-Ong is only the second female to manage a team in the JLWS.

Randy Ramos of Puerto Rico earned a place in the Junior Baseball World Series record book, hitting five doubles. The previous record was four. Yusuke Kuroda of the Philippines tied a pitching record with three victories, and Hawaii tied the team record of six victories.

Rounding out the International Pool were the Canadian national champions from Surrey, British Columbia (which finished second in the pool) and Guayama, the national champions of Puerto Rico.

The other four teams in the U.S. pool were runner-up Del Mar Little League from Laredo, Texas (Southwest champions); Middletown, (N.J.) Little League (East); Glendale (Wis.) American and National Little League (Central); and Anderson (S.C.) Area YMCA American and National Little League (South).