N.J., Ontario teams earn final tournament berths

Posted Aug. 13, 2009, at 11:50 p.m.

South Vineland, N.J., and Cornwall, Ontario, filled out the 10-team field for the 49th Senior League World Series on Thursday evening.

South Vineland, N.J., won the U.S. East title, scoring three runs in the top of the ninth inning to outlast Suffern, N.Y. 9-8, at West Deptford, N.J.

South Vineyard became the ninth straight New Jersey state champion to advance to the SLWS and earned its first berth in the event since making three straight trips in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

After winning its double-elimination regional with a 4-0 record, South Vineyard will now try to bring home the U.S. East’s second straight SLWS crown and third in the last six years.

The North Cumberland Little League of Upper Deerfield, N.J., won the 2008 championship, while Freehold Township, N.J. won in 2004.

The U.S. East is 23-9 overall in SLWS play since the tournament was moved to Bangor in 2002.

South Vineland will open pool play in the SLWS against Europe-Middle East-Africa qualifier Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy, at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Mansfield Stadium.

At the Canadian championships, the Cornwall Black Sox edged host Saint John, New Brunswick, 3-2 in the final after defeating Regina, Saskatchewan, 9-4 in a semifinal earlier in the day.

The Ontario team finished the nationals with a 5-2 record, while Saint John also was 5-2 after being a tournament-best 4-1 at the end of pool play on Tuesday.

Saint John went on to edge Valleyfield, Quebec, 5-4 in nine innings in its semifinal Thursday.

Cornwall is the first team from Ontario to qualify for the SLWS since the LaSalle Turtle Club of Windsor advanced in 2002 and went 2-2 in pool play.

Ironically, Cornwall defeated LaSalle 4-0 in this year’s Ontario provincial championship game.

Cornwall will play in the opening game of the SLWS at noon Sunday against Maine District 3 champion Bangor.

Canada is 12-17 in SLWS play over the tournament’s history in Bangor, with the Whalley, British Columbia, squad reaching last year’s semifinals before falling to Upper Deerfield, N.J., 1-0.

The world championship baseball tournament for 14- through 16-year-olds begins this weekend, with opening ceremonies at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and five days of pool play from Sunday through Thursday.

The top two teams in each of two five-team pools will advance to Friday’s semifinals, with the SLWS championship game to be played at 3 p.m., Aug. 22.

Two other SLWS qualifiers, the West Madison National Little League of Madison, Wisc., and the West University Little League of Houston, Texas, won their regional tournaments Wednesday night.

The Wisconsin team won the U.S. Central title by edging Midland, Mich., 7-6 in its regional final.

That victory marked the second different program from Wisconsin’s state capital to qualify for the SLWS in the last four years. The Kennedy American Little League from Madison went 1-3 in 2006 pool play.

West Madison National went undefeated in six games to win the Central regional at Columbia, Mo., defeating Albany, Mo. 15-1, Duluth, Minn., 9-2, Sterling, Ill. 19-3 and Lakeville, Ohio, 2-1, before edging the Ohio champions again 3-1 in the semifinals.

The U.S. Central is 15-15 overall since the SLWS moved to Bangor with two semifinal appearances, the most recent in 2005 when Urbandale, Iowa, won the title.

The West University Little League of Houston, representing Texas East, defeated Texas West champ Del Mar Little League of Laredo 18-0 on Wednesday to complete its unbeaten run through the seven-team U.S. Southwest regional at Seguin, Texas.

Texas East defeated Hammond, La., 9-6 and Texas West 6-1 in early round contests before advancing to the championship round.

As is the case in the U.S. Central, this will mark the second different Little League program from Houston to qualify for the SLWS in the last eight years, as the Northwest 45 Little League went 3-1 in pool play before being ousted by Boynton Beach, Fla., 14-11 in the 2002 semifinals.

This year’s U.S. Southwest champs originally were scheduled to arrive in Portland via plane at 5:23 p.m. Friday under travel arrangements made by Little League and then bus the remaining 130 miles to Bangor.

But according to SLWS tournament director Mike Brooker, the Houston team now will charter a plane and fly directly into Bangor International Airport, arriving at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The U.S. Southwest is 15-14 overall at the SLWS in Bangor, reaching the semifinals in both 2002 and in 2007, when Tyler, Texas, went 3-0 before falling to eventual world champion Cartersville, Ga., 4-1 in the semifinals.

eclark@bangordailynews.net

990-8045

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