The 2011 Senior League World Series field is starting to take on a look similar to the 2010 event.
Palm Bay, Fla., on Tuesday became the fifth team to secure a berth in the 10-team field, edging Dumfries, Va., 3-2 to win its second straight U.S. Southeast championship.
Palm Bay became the second SLWS qualifier that also appeared in last year’s tourney, joining defending world champion San Nicolas, Aruba, which will return to Bangor’s Mansfield Stadium for the third straight summer after winning the Latin America championship last month.
This year’s SLWS — the 10th to be hosted by Bangor — begins Sunday and continues through the world championship game for Little Leaguers ages 15-16 on Saturday, Aug. 20.
Palm Bay, Fla., hosted the eight-team U.S. Southeast regional and went 2-1 in pool play before defeating Darlington, S.C., 15-6 in Monday’s semifinals and then knocking off the previously undefeated Virginia team in the title game.
Palm Bay, which went 1-3 in pool play at last year’s Senior League World Series, joins Aruba, Maine District 3 champion Brewer, Europe-Middle East-Africa winner Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy, and Asia Pacific qualifier Tanauan Little League of Batangas, Philippines as teams that have earned berths in this year’s SLWS.
The Florida team will begin round-robin play at 2:30 p.m. Sunday against the U.S. West champion.
That U.S. West qualifier, which was set to be determined late Tuesday evening at Ontario, Calif., also will be a team familiar to Mansfield Stadium as Manhattan Beach, Calif., and Hilo, Hawaii, battled to emerge from that nine-team regional.
Manhattan Beach also appeared in the 2010 Senior League World Series, going undefeated in pool play before being upended by Maine District 3 champion Bangor 9-3 in the semifinals as Bangor rallied from a 3-0 first-inning deficit with three runs in the fifth inning and four runs in the sixth en route to its second-place finish in the tournament.
Hilo, Hawaii, has appeared in two previous Senior League World Series held in Bangor, winning the world title in 2003 and reaching the semifinals in 2007.
The U.S. West final is a rematch from a year ago, when Manhattan Beach tipped Hilo 4-3 to earn its first trip to the Queen City.
Another team poised to return to Bangor is Texas East representative Rose Capital East Little League of Tyler, Texas, the last remaining undefeated team in the U.S. Southwest regional being contested at Seguin, Texas.
Tyler already has earned its way to the championship round and awaits the winner of Tuesday night’s elimination game between Bayard, N.M., and Laredo, Texas, the Texas West representative. The winner of that game would have to defeat Tyler twice Wednesday to advance, while Tyler needs just one victory.
Tyler, Texas, previously reached the SLWS semifinals in 2007.
One difference this year from the nine previous Senior League World Series held in Bangor will be the absence of a team from New Jersey.
Both New Jersey entries in this year’s U.S. East regional, Freehold Township and host West Deptford, have been eliminated from that double-elimination event. Four teams remained entering Wednesday’s play, unbeaten clubs from Talbot County, Md., and Quincy, Mass., and once-beaten teams from Wyoming, Pa., and Stony Point, N.Y.
Tuesday’s scheduled U.S. East games were postponed due to rain and pushed back to Wednesday morning. The championship round in that region now will be played Thursday.
At the nine-team U.S. Central regional, host Peru, Ill., was one of two remaining unbeaten teams entering Tuesday’s final day of pool play. The hosts were scheduled to face the other unbeaten left, Holmes County, Ohio, in their final pool game leading to Wednesday’s semifinals and championship game.
Holmes County, Ohio, is seeking a second straight berth in the SLWS after finishing 2-2 in pool play last year.
Also to be crowned Wednesday evening is Brewer’s first round-robin opponent, the Canadian champion. The Notre Dame de Grace Little League from Montreal earned one berth in its national final Tuesday, improving its tournament record to 6-0 with a 5-2 semifinal win over Langley/Surrey, British Columbia, in the tournament being played at Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec. The Montreal team will face Windsor West, Ontario, a 5-1 winner over the host Abitibi Titans in Tuesday’s second semifinal, for Canada’s SLWS berth.
Brewer will open the SLWS against the Canadian champion at noon Sunday.