South Beats North

Venezuela surprises the baseball world at the 2000 Little League Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Overcoming obstacles, it seems, was nothing new for the Little League Baseball team from Maracaibo, Venezuela, representing the Latin American region at the 2000 Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA. The team's flight to the United States was delayed more than 12 hours, so the team arrived late and tired in Williamsport for the start.

This caused the Venezuelans to get off to a sluggish start as Tokyo routed them 10-0 in a preliminary round game on the opening day. Yet with each passing day, the boys from Maracaibo regained their confidence and strength, winning their next two games to qualify and meet Tokyo again, this time for the International Championship. They shocked Japan by beating them 5-4, and qualified to meet the United States South Team from Texas in the World Series final.

In front of 40,000 people and a worldwide TV audience, the Venezuelans captured the ultimate prize in an exciting game that was undecided until the final out by a score of 3-2! The team, having overcome great adversities on and off the field, returned to their homeland as heroes. The World Series experience is what Little League Baseball is all about, though: lessons in life! And it's something they will certainly remember for the rest of their lives! So it's congratulations to Maracaibo, Venezuela - Little League and World Series champions!

And commiserations to Saudi Arabia, victors over Kutno, who won one and lost two in the tournament, their lone victory coming over Canada.

Bill Piszek