A collection of 15 islands located in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the Philippines will send a team to the Senior League World Series for the third time in the last seven years next month.
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands qualified for this year’s series Thursday by winning a highly competitive Asia Pacific regional tournament held at Jakarta, Indonesia.
CNMI, often known by the name of the most populated island in the chain, Saipan, defeated Guam 8-4 in its regional championship game to earn its berth in the SLWS, which runs Aug 15-21 at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor.
The Asia Pacific champs went undefeated in their regional tournament, but won none of their round-robin games by more than three runs. CNMI defeated Guam 4-3, Indonesia 7-4 and the Philippines 10-8 to advance to the championship game.
CNMI went 2-2 in pool play during both of its previous appearances in the SLWS since it was moved to Bangor in 2002.
In 2007, the Asia Pacific champs lost out in a three-way tiebreaker for a berth in the semifinals, but along the way had a 5-4 victory over Cartersville, Ga. — which went on to win that year’s SLWS championship.
CNMI also went 2-2 in the 2004 series.
The Asia Pacific champions are 10-23 overall in the eight years the SLWS has been held in Bangor, and had their best showing last year when Makati City, Philippines, went 3-1 in pool play before bowing to the West University Little League of Houston 6-1 in the semifinals.
The Houston team went on to win the 2009 Senior League World Series title.
CNMI will open play in this year’s series Aug. 15 at 8 p.m., against Latin America.
The Latin America champion will be the next of the 10 SLWS representatives to be determined, with that qualifying tournament to start Sunday at Oranjestad, Aruba.
The host Maine District 3 champion then will be crowned either July 25 or 26, with five U.S. regions and Canada to determine their entries between Aug. 10 and Aug. 12.