By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR — Fans who watched the Junior League World Series playoff contests last week may have seen the next Gary Sheffield or Derek Bell — Major League Baseball players who roamed the same field in 1982 as part of the championship Florida team.
The world’s best 13- and 14-year-old players concluded the tournament yesterday at Heritage Park (results unavailable at press time), the 32nd annual contest hosted in the city.
Final four elimination play began Friday before the finale Saturday, which was broadcast on ESPN. David Gorgon, Junior League World Series Communications director, said the elimination games throughout the week matched the high-quality play seen throughout the tournament’s history.
Friday’s final games pitted Rockledge, Fla., against champs from Corpus Christi, Texas, for the USA final slot; the winner faced either the national champions of Mexico from San Nicolas de La Garza or Latin America’s winners from Oranjestad, Aruba.
Gorgon said the tournament is truly a “world” series, with five U.S. regional champs taking on winners from Canada, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and Mexico.
He said it was no surprise that the tournament featured high-caliber play, and over the years has produced major league players and athletes in other professional sports.
“They earned the right to be here by beating other great teams,” Gorgon said. “It’s not only a great time and some great baseball, you never know where they may end up.”
For more information and complete results of the Series go to www.cityoftaylor.com/worldseries or the juniorleagueworldseries page on Facebook.
(James Mitchell can be reached at [email protected])