BANGOR, Maine — Only the host Maine District 3 berth remains to be filled for the 2012 Senior League World Series that stages its weeklong stay at Mansfield Stadium beginning Sunday.
The Notre-Dame-de-Grace Little League of Montreal, Western Little League of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Auburn, Mass., are the most recent qualifiers, earning their spots in the 10-team field Wednesday.
The Montreal team defeated Lethbridge, Alberta, 10-1, at Regina, Saskatchewan, to win the Canadian championship for the second straight year.
The Quebec champion, which went unbeaten in seven games at its national tournament, will open the Senior League World Series at noon Sunday against the Maine District 3 champion at Mansfield Stadium.
Grand Rapids will be the second straight Michigan team — after Midland, Mich., in 2011 — to represent the U.S. Central in the SLWS after winning twice Wednesday at Peru, Ill. Grand Rapids defeated Holmes County, Ohio, 5-2 in the semifinals and then topped South Bend, Ind., 5-1 in the final.
Auburn, Mass., will become the first New England team to play in the SLWS since it was moved to Bangor in 2002. Auburn, Mass., edged Upper Moreland, Pa., 5-4 in the U.S. East championship game.
Unbeaten Hampden and once-beaten Bangor will play for the final SLWS vacancy in the championship round of the double-elimination Maine District 3 tourney beginning at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Hampden needs just one more win while Bangor must win two games to advance.
Qualifying for the SLWS earlier this week were Lemon Grove, Calif., the West University Little League of Houston and the South Beaches/Greater West Melbourne Little League of Brevard County, Fla.
They join teams from Auckland, New Zealand; Guatemala City, Guatemala; and Emilia, Italy, that had qualified last month for the SLWS, which runs Aug. 12-18.
Lemon Grove, Calif., advanced by defeating defending SLWS champion Hilo, Hawaii, 6-0 in the U.S. West championship game at Ontario, Calif. That win avenged a 6-3 loss to the Hawaiians during pool play, the only defeat suffered by the Southern California representative.
Hilo finished pool play at 4-0 before defeating Redmond, Ore., 17-3 in its semifinal, while 3-1 Lemon Grove edged Northern California qualifier Sunnyvale, Calif., 3-2 in its semifinal.
The West University Little League will return to the SLWS for the third time in four years after winning the U.S. Southwest crown at Seguin, Texas. Albuquerque, N.M., had gotten off to a 3-0 start in the double-elimination event — including a 3-2 win over West University Little League — but then withdrew from the tournament.
The Texas East champion then defeated Corpus Christi, Texas, 3-2 in what turned out to be the championship game.
The West University Little League won the 2009 Senior League World Series, then went 2-2 in pool play in 2010.
Brevard County, Fla., the host team for the U.S. Southeast regional, topped Greater Largo, Fla., 10-0 to earn its ticket to Bangor. The champs went just 1-2 in pool play but advanced on a tiebreaker before defeating Dumfries, Va., 12-0 in its semifinal.
Maine teams ousted
The Maine Junior League champion Bangor All-Stars concluded their run at the Eastern Regional in Freehold Township, N.J., this week with a 1-2 record.
The District 3 champions were edged 9-7 in their opener by Franklin Square, N.Y., then defeated Milford, Del., 15-5 before being eliminated from the double-elimination tournament with a 10-0 loss to Johnston, R.I.
The state Senior League champion from Scarborough was ousted from the Eastern Regional in two straight games, losing to Auburn, Mass., 35-0 and Talbot County, Md., 11-3.