Today’s Major League Baseball blog is interrupted by the Little League World Series.
In its 75th (Diamond) year, the competition has grown to include separate International and USA competitions. Among the 8 International divisions is Latin America, and this year, that group was well represented by Coquivacoa LL (co-kee-va-koh-ah) of Maracaibo, Venezuela. From the birthplace of the legendary Aparicios comes this year’s regional champion, who took the crown by sweeping 5 games in Managua, Nicaragua, finally defeating neighboring Tomas Munoz LL of Panama on Roberto Clemente Field in the June 29 final.
In the international division, the maracucho (the endearing nickname for Maracaibo dwellers) team acquitted itself well, splitting four games. They lost a heartbreaker to perennial favorites Japan, 1-0. Mexico wiped the field with them on Tuesday, 11-1, to reach the semifinal. But between those two defeats, decked out in the bright red-and-yellow Venezuelan national colors, they beat Canada 10-0 and squeaked by the Caribbean (Puerto Rico’s Miguel Luzunaris LL) 2-1. Ronny Medina struck out 9 Caribbean batters, and Julio Rejon starred at the plate with a home run. Julio wears #13, like Davey Concepcion and Ozzie Guillen, and he still wears braces, too. There’s an Inciarte on the team, and a Cabrera, too, just like in the Major Leagues.
I look forward to the finals of both the International and USA divisions this weekend, and most of all, I hope these kids have fun. Because that’s what baseball’s all about, dude.