The 2010 Senior League World Series has its first entry.
The Lazio, Italy, Senior League all-stars earned their trip to Bangor on Saturday, defeating Kutno, Poland, 11-3 to win the EMEA (Europe-Middle East-Africa) regional qualifying tournament held at Novara, Italy.
Lazio, a region of west central Italy that includes the capital city of Rome, will be the second straight Italian team to represent EMEA at the Senior League World Series, which will run Aug. 15-21 at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor.
Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy, won the regional title last year, but went 0-4 in SLWS pool play.
Lazio went just 2-2 during pool play at the five-team EMEA tournament, which also included Poland, Rotterdam, Netherlands, Baden Wuertenberg, Germany, and a team from the U.S. military base in Stuttgart, Germany.
But the Italian team defeated Baden Wuertenberg 8-2 in the semifinals earlier Saturday to advance to the final against Poland, which had gone 1-3 in pool play before defeating Stuttgart 18-9 in its semifinal.
EMEA, one focus of the effort by Little League Baseball to develop the sport around the world, has not had much success at the Senior League World Series since it was moved to Bangor in 2002.
EMEA teams have gone 5-27 in eight previous trips to Maine and have yet to advance out of pool play to the semifinals.
The most successful EMEA team in the SLWS since 2002 was the 2003 Moscow, Russia, entry that finished 2-2.
When Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy, edged Panama 2-1 during pool play last August, that ended a 13-game losing streak for the EMEA representatives.
Lazio, Italy, will open Pool A play in this year’s Senior League World Series Aug. 15 at 5:30 p.m. against the U.S. Southwest champion.
Other teams in Pool A will be Canada, the U.S. East and the host team from Maine District 3.
Teams in Pool B will represent the U.S. Southeast, U.S. Central, U.S. West, Latin America and Asia Pacific.
The Asia Pacific representative will be the next team to qualify for the SLWS. That tournament began Saturday and runs through Thursday at Jakarta, Indonesia.
Saint John to host tourney
Saint John, New Brunswick, will host the Canadian Senior League Baseball championship tournament for the second straight year Aug. 7-12.
That wasn’t the original plan, but when British Columbia backed out of its turn to host the event at the last minute, the Saint John organizing committee stepped in to fill the void, according to the Saint John Telegraph Journal.
Six Canadian regional champions — New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies and British Columbia — compete annually for the right to represent the country in the Senior League World Series at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor.
Saint John nearly represented Canada in last year’s World Series before losing to Cornwall, Ontario, in the championship game played before 3,000 fans at Memorial Field.