Source: South Williamsport, Pa.
Date: Friday, Aug. 24, 2012
Canada regional champions have been present at the Little League World Series since 1958, sending a team per year to South Williamsport since their original berth. Hastings Community Little League in Vancouver, British Columbia, has only had two teams make it to this epic world stage. The first team was recognized in 2009 and the second in 2012.
What's one thing these two teams have in common? Their manager, Vito Borignon.
"It's a great experience just being here, for me and the kids, it's simply a wonderful feeling to be here and be given the opportunity to come again. For one, the baseball is great here, the camaraderie is unbelievable; they're meeting kids they'd never get to meet again."-- Canada Manager Vito Borignon
"It's a great experience just being here, for me and the kids, it's simply a wonderful feeling to be here and be given the opportunity to come again. For one, the baseball is great here, the camaraderie is unbelievable; they're meeting kids they'd never get to meet again," said Canada manager Vito Borignon.
In 2009 Hastings Community Little League arrived at the World Series in South Williamsport only to experience a loss first to Mexico, followed by Europe and ending their Series run Asia-Pacific. But in 2012, Hastings Community Little League was back on top as they had qualified for the series for the first time in two years.
The 2012 team had an impressive entrance in to this year's Little League World Series in a knockout of a game against Prairies representative Southwest Little League from Lethbridge, Alberta. Hastings Community scored an unprecedented 10 runs in the fourth inning, enacting the 10-run rule with a victory, 11-1.
As their first game of the season, Canada played the Mexico champions from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. Canada came ready to win. In the first inning alone, the team sent through a total of 13 batters, scoring seven runs. Even with Mexico's power hitters up at bat, they stood little chance to this dominating Canada team.
Canada came back twice after Mexico came back to tie the game, scoring another six runs and defeating Mexico, 13-9. This team from Hastings Community Little League, unlike their successors two years prior, was able to win their first game and now head into a second game against the Latin America champions from Aguadulce, Panama.
On Sunday at noon, Canada took on Latin America in the winners' bracket. Unfortunately, Panama came with a will to win and shut down the team from Vancouver, 8-3.
"Defense has been stellar for our team, it's what kept us in all of our games, defense has always been key," said Borignon.
However it seemed to fall short in their game against Latin America. The loss shifted Canada into the losers' bracket and a game against the Caribbean champions from Pariba Little League of Willemstad, Curacao, on Monday.
In Monday's game, Canada played a nail biter of a game that went back and forth throughout. The Caribbean took the lead first in the top of the second, 1-0, before Canada evened things up in the third and pulled ahead of the Caribbean in bottom of the fourth inning, 3-1. However in the fifth inning, the Caribbean sealed Canada's fate with a 3-run inning which Canada could not come back from, losing, 4-3.
"It was a strong showing for them," said Borignon. "We had opportunities to win the game, but we just didn't get them. Our pitcher (Cole Dalla-Zana) pitched an unbelievable game. I'm not unhappy with our effort".
So the team from Hasting Community in Vancouver, British Columbia, may not be walking away from these 2012 Little League World Series games as champions per se, but they certainly have made it farther than those that came before them. Not to mention they still get the opportunity to enjoy the Series as a whole and everything that it entails.
"Tomorrow they'll be amongst all of the friends they've met here and they'll feel better," said Borignon.
The team plans on staying in South Williamsport until the close of the tournament as well, not too anxious to head back home just yet.
"We'll be around for the whole tournament," promised Borignon. "We'll probably go see where the old Series took place and the (Little League) museum".
And of course, the crowning of the 2012 Little League World Champions.