Seven teams now have qualified for the 2010 Senior League World Series with the most recent additions of two teams from opposite sides of the United States as well as a third from the heartland.
Manhattan Beach, Calif., representing Southern California, won the U.S. West title late Tuesday evening, while Palm Beach, Fla., the host team of the U.S. Southeast regional, won that title Wednesday to advance to the 10-team SLWS that begins Sunday afternoon at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor.
Holmes County, Ohio, became the seventh entry on Wednesday evening by winning the U.S. Central crown at Columbia, Mo.
Those teams join host Maine District 3 champion Bangor, EMEA (Europe-Middle East-Africa) winner Lazio, Italy, Asia Pacific representative Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Latin America champion San Nicolas, Aruba, as teams that already have earned their way into the weeklong world baseball championship for players ages 15 and 16.
The U.S. Southwest, are scheduled to be determined late Wednesday, with defending SLWS champion West University Little League of Houston needing just one more win to return to Bangor.
Canada and the U.S. East will crown their champions on Thursday.
The Aruba team will be the first to reach Bangor, its arrival scheduled for Thursday evening, according to SLWS director Mike Brooker. Five other teams will arrive Friday, with the final three traveling teams reaching the Queen City on Saturday in advance of the SLWS opening ceremonies slated for Saturday night.
Manhattan Beach, Calif., went undefeated through the U.S. West regional held at Ontario, Calif., going 4-0 in pool play before edging Northeast Scottsdale, Ariz. — the 2009 Junior League World Series champion — 3-1 in the semifinals and Hilo, Hawaii, 4-3 in the championship game.
The U.S. West has fielded some of the most successful teams in the SLWS since the tournament was moved to Bangor in 2002. That region is 27-5 in pool play with one championship (Hilo, Hawaii, in 2003) and four other trips to the championship game in 2004, 2005, 2006 and last year, when Fremont, Calif., lost to Houston, Texas, 9-7 in the title game.
Manhattan Beach will be the fourth California team to represent the West in the last eight years, following San Pedro (2002), Oxnard (2004) and Fremont (2009).
Manhattan Beach will open SLWS Pool B play at 2:30 p.m. Sunday against Palm Beach, Fla., which also went undefeated in winning the U.S. Southeast crown.
The Florida champions went 3-0 in pool play before edging Hampton, Va., 5-4 in the semifinals and shutting out Crystal River, S.C., 2-0 in Wednesday morning’s final at Viera, Fla.
The U.S. Southeast is 22-10 in pool play at the SLWS since 2002 with one championship (Cartersville, Ga., in 2007), a second trip to the finals in 2003.
Holmes County, Ohio, avenged a loss to Peru, Ill., during pool play to win the U.S. Central title with a 10-6 victory in the regional final.
The Ohio team went 5-1 overall, including a 3-1 pool record before defeating Midland, Mich., 16-6 in the semifinals.
The U.S. Central has produced on SLWS champion during its run in Bangor — Urbandale, Iowa, in 2005.
The U.S. Central is 16-18 overall in SLWS play during the eight years with two trips beyond pool play, both by Urbandale, Iowa in 2003 and 2005.
Holmes County, Ohio, will open SLWS play at 10 a.m. Monday against Palm Beach, Fla.