For the 40th year, the best teams of 13- and 14-year-old baseball players from around the globe are in Taylor for the Junior League World Series.
The World Series gets underway with four games on Sunday, Aug. 14, starting at noon in the Taylor South Little League complex in Heritage Park. Twelve teams – six from the United States, six from international locations – will compete for the championship of the junior division of Little League baseball.
The series was founded in Taylor in 1981 and was played for 39 consecutive years until the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of the event in 2020 and 2021. Volunteers have worked hard to have World Series Field ready to go in 2022.
“It’s a brand new year for the World Series,” said Director Dan Bzura. “The 12 teams that are here arrive as champions, having won tournaments in the days, weeks and months leading up to this week. Like our visiting players, coaches, fans and umpires, we can’t wait for the games to get going.”
One of the six teams competing in the USA Pool will draw a large crowd – for good reason. The Taylor North Little League team won the 2021 Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn. Five of the players on that team are part of the Taylor North team that won the Michigan District 5 tournament and qualified as this year’s host team for the Junior League series.
Taylor North plays the champion of the USA West region at 5 pm Sunday. As of Thursday afternoon, the West regional tournament was still being played in Bend, Ore.
Sunday’s opening game at noon features the USA Southeast region champion from the Loudoun South Little League in South Riding, Va., against the Central region champ. Games in the Central region were held in Michigan, with Midland serving as host. As of Thursday afternoon, results were incomplete from the region.
The 2 pm game on Sunday pits the Asia-Pacific champions from the Chung Shan Junior Little League in Chinese Taipei vs. the South Czech Republic Little League from Brno, champions of the Europe-Africa region.
After the 5 pm game with Taylor North and the West champions, opening day will conclude with the 8 pm game between the Latin America champs from the Pabao little League in Willemstad, Curacao, and the Canadian national champions from the South Vancouver Little League in British columbia.
Four teams have opening day byes: the Australian national champions from the Perth Metro East Little League; the Mexican national champions from the Santa Maria De Aguayo Little League in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas; the USA East region champions from the Keystone Little League in Clinton County, Pennsylvania; and the USA Southwest champs from the Oil Belt Little League in Corpus Christi, Texas. The four teams with byes start play on Monday.
Admission is $5 per carload per day, covering all four games of baseball. A week’s pass is $15. Admission is collected at the entryways to Heritage Park, which is located at 12111 Pardee Road in Taylor.
The games are played in a modified double-elimination format. Teams play until they have lost twice. When four teams are remaining – two in the USA Pool and two in the International Pool – the winners play in single-elimination semifinal games on Friday. The USA and International champions advance to the world championship game at noon on Sunday, Aug. 21.
All games of the 2022 Junior League Baseball World Series will be streamed on ESPN+. The world championship game will be on ESPN2.
“We’ll have local, national and international participation,” Bzura said. “We’ll have a whole new lineup of players, coaches and umpires. The 2022 World Series will create memories that last a lifetime.”
Follow the JLWS at the website www.littleleague.org/world_series/2022/jlwbs/ and keep up to date on the Junior League World Series Facebook page.
NOTEBOOK: Greg Bzura, the founder of the Junior League World Series, has retired after 42 years as director. But that’s not the only major change. George Glick has retired as director of umpires. Glick, who lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, first umpired at the JLWS in 1982 and never left the staff. He was elevated to director in 1999 following the passing of Charles McAllister. Glick is a former member of the Little League Baseball Board of Directors and a past district administrator. He has umpired for 52 years.
Glick will be succeeded by Jamie Hinojosa and Mike Roach, who will share the director’s role this year.