BANGOR, Maine — Teams from Panama and Italy have become the latest qualifiers for this year’s Senior League World Series after winning their regional tournaments over the weekend.
The Chitre Little League of Chitre, Herrera, Panama, won the Latin American championship Saturday on the Caribbean island of Saint Maarten, while Italy earned its fifth straight trip to the Little League Baseball world championship tournament for 14- through 16-year-olds by capturing the Europe and Africa title at Novara, Italy.
Both teams will compete in Pool B of the SLWS, scheduled for Aug. 11-17 at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor, along with champions from the U.S. East, Central and Southwest that will be crowned in early August.
Pool A will consist of the Asia-Pacific champion ILLAM Little League from Makati City, Philippines and the yet-to-be determined champions of Canada, the U.S. Southeast and West and host Maine District 3.
The 10-team SLWS is comprised of five days of pool play with each team playing four games before the top two teams from each pool advance to the semifinals on Friday, Aug. 16. The semifinal winners then square off for the SLWS title at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17.
The Panamanians went undefeated in six games to become the first team from its country to represent Latin America at the SLWS since 2005, when Santiago Veraguas, Panama, went 2-2 in pool play.
This year’s team defeated Saint Maarten, Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Dominican Republic to advance to the semifinals, where it edged Curacao 3-1.
That set up a championship game against Venezuela, which the Panamanians won 1-0.
Latin America has won four of the previous 11 SLWS tournaments held in Bangor, including last year’s event won by Guatemala City, Guatemala.
Team Panama will open SLWS pool play against the U.S. Central at 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 11, just after the annual tournament opener between Maine District 3 and Canada slated for noon.
Team Italy will play its SLWS opener at 10 a.m. on Aug. 12 against the U.S. East.
The Europe and Africa champion defeated France, Great Britain and Hungary to advance to the title game of its qualifying tournament where it defeated Great Britain again, this time by a 7-2 count.
Europe and Africa had been Europe-Middle East-Africa in recent years, but the Middle East was shifted to the Asia-Pacific regional in 2013.
All seven teams in this year’s Europe and Africa tournament were from Europe — Italy, Great Britain, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, Belgium and Georgia.