In 2009, an all-star team from Scottsdale, Arizona, won 24 straight games from the time the team was formed until the time it won the Junior League World Series. The runner-up from Aruba didn’t win the series, but the team debuted by setting records for the biggest margin of victory in a game (23 over Canada), most pitching strikeouts (55), runs batted in (52) and runs scored (64). Teams from Italy and New Mexico also debuted.
Youth Sports Live
For the first time, Youth Sports Live (YSL) provided video streaming of every game of the Junior League World Series and the other seven baseball and softball world series under the direction of Little League International, making games available on computers around the world.
Postponed by Rain
The 2009 USA Friday night championship game between Arizona and New Jersey was postponed by rain until Saturday for the first time in Junior League World Series (JLWS) history.
World Series Turns 30
The World Series turned 30 in 2010 and it marked the debut of a team from Chinese Taipei, which brought the first JLWS championship to the Asia-Pacific region. The Chung-Ching Junior Little League all-stars of Taipei City not only won the series, they also drew some of the largest crowds in JLWS history.
The runners-up from Tyler, Texas, included Patrick Mahomes II, son of former Major League pitcher Pat Mahomes. The 2010 series marked the first time a team from Guatemala competed in any World Series sanctioned by Little League International – and the Guatemala City team finished second in the International Pool.
Memorable Championship Game
The 2011 World Series will be remembered as having one of the finest championship games in history. The Palma Ceia/Bayshore program in Tampa, Florida, defeated Taoyuan, Chinese Taipei, 2-1. It was the second Junior League world championship for Palma Ceia/Bayshore and extended Tampa teams’ record for world titles to 4-for-4. At the same time, Taoyuan was prevented from becoming the second straight Chinese Taipei team from winning the world championship.
The championship game was broadcast live on ESPN2. The tournament marked the debut of a team from Rhode Island, bringing the total states represented in the World Series to 29.
Not everything was perfect in 2011. A thunderstorm forced postponement of the colorful opening ceremonies. Only the fireworks display went off as planned.
In 2012, the boys from Rockledge, Florida, used their hitting prowess to go undefeated throughout Junior League baseball post-season play, but they won the world championship game on a balk and a walk. The USA Southeast champs scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 10-10 tie and defeat Oranjestad, Aruba, 12-10, in one of the wildest and highest-scoring finales in JLWS history. One key to the victory for Rockledge was two home runs by Mason Studstill, who set World Series records with six home runs, 14 runs batted in and 12 runs scored. He also hit a team-high .571. Rockledge’s title marked the second straight World Series championship for a team from Florida and the fifth in five appearances by teams from the Sunshine State in the final game of the tournament.
In 2013, a team from Chinese Taipei won the Asia-Pacific championship for the fourth year in a row. The Shin-Ming Junior Little League team from Taoyuan went on to become one of the most dominant teams in JLWS history, outscoring opponents 75-7 while winning the World Series without hitting a home run. The team’s 75 runs scored and 66 runs batted in both set series records. USA champion Rio Rico, Arizona, became the third USA West champion in five years from the Grand Canyon State.
The 2014 World Series will feature two major changes. Due to stormy weather that created havoc with the 2013 series schedule, The JLWS has received permission from Little League International to start a day earlier. World Series “week” is now nine days. Teams check on Friday, August 8. The opening ceremonies will be held Friday evening (instead of Saturday). The opening day of games (normally a Sunday) is Saturday, August 9. The International and USA championship games will be Thursday, August 14 (instead of Friday). Friday, August 15, is listed as an open day with no games scheduled. The day will be used for any makeup games. The world championship game remains on a Saturday, August 16.
In addition, the 2014 playing field is vastly improved over previous years. The infield has been completely replaced. Poor turf is gone; new sod is in. Some low spots in the outfield are now in line with other sections of the outfield, hopefully eliminating “puddling” in the event of rain. Other changes have given World Series Field precise dimensions of an improved college field. The pitcher’s mound was reduced from 19 feet to 18 feet. The width of the path from home plate to the pitcher’s mound was reduced from five feet to three feet. Paths were created from the dugouts to home plate. Sod now extends nearly to the fences surrounding the field. And the coaching boxes along the baselines were made 5-by-20-feet. Junior League World Series stencils will be part of the field of play and part of a hill along the entry way to the field.
Home Run Derby
Like the Home Run Derby is an important part of the Major Leagues All-Star Game festivities, the Home Run Derby is a fun part of Junior League World Series week. Players belt five baseballs off a tee and attempt to clear the fence of the nearby Senior League field in Heritage Park.