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August 19, 2009 > Niles-Centerville wins Western Regional

Niles-Centerville wins Western Regional

By Biff Jones
Photos By Submitted by Brett Knight

For the Senior (14-16 year olds) All-Stars from Niles-Centerville Little League (NCLL) in Fremont, it is on to the Senior Baseball World Series in Bangor, Maine, this week, August 16-22. They will join five other U.S. Regional winners along with four International winners in pool-play format.

After NC won Pool 1 in the Western Regional (held last week in Ontario, CA) they advanced to the semifinals last Monday, August 10, where NC faced Pool 2 runner-up, host league winner, Canyon Hills of Chino, CA. In the semifinal, the Niles bats took over as NC advanced to the championship game with a 14-6 victory.

Western Regional Senior Championship would see NC, the Nor Cal Champ, face Corona National of Corona, the So Cal Champ. This game turned into a pitchers' duel with Jack Veronin taking the hill for NC.

Niles got on the board first when leadoff hitter Marc Wik (the TCV Male Athlete of the Month for August) reached on an error. Using his speed, Wik advanced to third from where he scored on another Corona error.

In the fourth inning, NC added another run on back-to-back doubles by shortstop Billy Nevin and first baseman Bryce Fryan. Meanwhile, Veronin was shutting down the So Cal Champs.

Corona finally got a run in the sixth but left the tying run on third as NC became Senior Western Regional Champions with their 2-1 victory.

Veronin went the distance, striking out five and walking none while his Niles defense played error-free ball behind him.

NC finished Regional play with a 20-2 overall record. They lost to Union City American in Section 3 and to Almaden of San Jose in Division 2. Both tournaments were double elimination format and NC had to come back and defeat each team twice to advance in tournament play.

This is the first time a team from NCLL or CA District 14 (Fremont and Newark)
has ever advanced to a Little League World Series. In fact, until this year, it was the first time CA D14 and Administrator Reggie Torres has had a team win Nor Cal and make to Western Regionals. (Mission San Jose of Fremont Juniors (13-14 year olds) also won Nor Cal in 2009 before being knocked out of the semifinals with just one loss and losing two tie breaker scenarios.)

At the World Series in Bangor, U.S. West champions Niles-Centerville, will be in Pool A along with Asia-Pacific winner, Illam Central LL of Makati City, Philippines; Canadian champ, Cornwal LL, Cornwall, Ontario; Maine D3 and host winner, Bangor East/West LL; and U.S. South champ, Northwood LL, Greenville, S.C.

Pool B will be EMEA (Europe/Middle East/Africa) winner, Friuli Venezia Giulia LL, Italy; Latin America champ, Aruba South LL, San Nicolas, Aruba; U.S. Southwest winner, West University LL, Houston, Texas; U.S. Central champ, West Madison National, LL, Madison, Wisc.; and U.S. East winner, South Vineland LL, Vineland, N.J.

Top two teams in each pool after pool play go to the semifinals, Friday, August 21, with the winners playing Saturday, August 22, for the Little League Senior Baseball World Championship of 2009.

To follow the Niles-Centerville schedule and results, go to the TCV Sports Web site, www.tricityvoice.com/sports.

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