EASLEY—The Big League World Series opens Wednesday in Easley with eight of the 11 teams in the tournament seeing action.
Rain and lightning cancelled the tournament’s opening event —- the Home Run Derby —-Tuesday night. The rain and lightning did end in time for the concert featuring Out of Sight and Karmin later Tuesday evening.
The tournament, in is 12th year at the JB “Red” Owens Recreation Complex, begins at 4 p.m. with Venezeula, the Latin American champion, playing Italy, the champion of the Europe/Middle East/Africa Regional. Venezuela defeated Mexico in the semi-finals and Guatemala in the championship game to win the nine-team Latin America tournament. Italy has never been to the Big League World Series, but most of its roster played on a team that advanced the Junior League World Series in 2009 and the Senior League World Series last year.
The other 4 p.m. game has Anaheim, CA, the West Region champion, taking on Laredo, Texas, champions of the Southwest Region. Anaheim outscored its opponents 31-3 in winning the West Region and Laredo won all three of its games in the Southwest Region, outscoring opponents 23-11.
Two games are also scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The Easley SC District 1 team plays the Central Region champion from Fort Wayne, IN. Easley, which receives an automatic bid as the host team, has made it to the semi-finals or finals in eight of the previous 11 years and has won the tournament four times. The Fort Wayne team outscored opponents 30-2 to win its region. In the other 7 p.m. game, Muntinlupa, Philippines, the winner of the Asia/Pacific Region, plays San Juan, Puerto Rico, which received the international automatic qualifier this year.
Both nations are being represented for the third consecutive year. A team from the Philippines also played in the series in 2002. Puerto Rico won the championship in 2010 and reached the championship game last year. Overall, Puerto Rico has had a team in the tournament six of the 12 years it has been in Easley, winning an earlier championship in 2002.