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Mexico Zone- Guasave, Sinaloa, Mexico

WASHINGTON, Pennsylvania (May 16) - After a heroic walk-off home run against an undefeated rival, Guasave, Sinaloa won its second-ever PONY Mexico Zone Championship recently in Juarez City, Chihuahua. As the Mexico Zone Champion, Guasave advances to the  DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series (DSGPLWS) in Washington, Pennsylvania.  

 Guasave opened up the eight-day tournament with a 6-1 loss against Villahermosa, Tobasco in pool play. The loss ignited the team as it went on to record four-straight victories against Minatitlan, Veracruz 5-0; Sonora 14-1; Maya 3-1; and Tijuana, Baja California 6-5.  Heading into the knockout round in second place behind Villahermosa, Guasave continued to stay hot, besting fellow Sinaloan team, Culiacan, 15-2 and Muralla 7-3 in the semifinals.

 The championship game brought two familiar rivals back together for a rematch, Guasave and Villahermosa. Through six and a half innings, the game was a classic stalemate, as both teams remained scoreless. Guasave pitcher Vidal Sotelo Rivera was the hero, after hitting a game-winning home run to deep left centerfield, completing a 1-0 victory.

 Sotelo was named tournament’s Batting Champion after recording a .667 batting average and a 1.467 slugging percentage.

 The last time Guasave played in the DSGPLWS was in 2012, when it recorded a 6-5 victory over Washington.

 Mexico has been represented at the DSGPLWS since 1971, when Maya first qualified for the Zone. Monterrey, Nuevo León went on to win Mexico’s only DSGPLWS. Los Mochis, Sinaloa last made it to the championship game in 2013, when it lost to Okinawa, Japan 5-4. Most recently Los Mochis made it to the Division Finals last year falling to eventual champion Taipei County, Chinese Taipei. Guasave’s participation in this year’s tournament marks the sixth- straight year that a team from Sinaloa has been represented at the DSGPLWS.

Guasave will battle PONY’s representative from the Caribbean Zone in Game #1 on Friday, Aug. 11 at 5:30 p.m. ET/US. All games Aug. 11-16 will be played at Lew Hays Pony Field in Washington Park. Watch Guasave throughout the tournament online at plws.org and on PONY’s social media. 

European Zone - The Netherlands


WASHINGTON, Pennsylvania (May 19) -  After four rigorous days of play at the 2017 SUMA PONY European Zone Championships in Prague, Czech Republic, the Netherlands went undefeated and clinched the European Zone title, qualifying them for the 2017 DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series (DSGPLWS) in Washington, Pennsylvania. It is the Netherlands’ first appearance at the DSGPLWS in the 66-year history of the tournament.

In its thrilling semifinal matchup, Holandsko A trailed Prague, Czech Republic 7-6 going into the final inning until Holland’s Sam Brouns and Tyriq Kemp hit back-to-back doubles, setting up Danny Albinus in a pivotal spot. On an 0-1 count, Albinus hit another double, which scored both runners and ended the game in an 8-7 win, which advanced Holland to the championship game.

The championship game featured the undefeated and former 2014 PONY European Zone Champion Czech Academy against undefeated Holandsko A. In a one-sided affair, the Dutch shutout the Czechs 11-0 to earn the European Zone’s automatic bid to the DSGPLWS.

Netherlands’ starting pitcher Gio de-Graauw pitched three innings of two-hit ball without allowing a single run in the championship game. His team provided him with plenty of run support early after a five-run second inning.

After his impressive performance, de-Graauw was named the Tournament’s Best Pitcher, completing the championship game with three innings pitched, a 0.00 ERA, zero hits allowed and seven strikeouts. Teammate Raydley Legito was named Tournament MVP, after he finished the tournament going 9-for-12 at the plate with a double, triple, nine runs scored, seven clutch RBI and six stolen bases.

In early round pool play action, Holland kept its tournament intact by recording two shutouts in addition to the 11-0 rout in the championship game. Throughout the tournament, Holland defeated Draci Brno, Czech Republic 8-4; Ukraine 19-0; Moskvich, Russia 25-0; Polsko A, Poland 19-2; Prague 8-7; and the Czech Academy 11-0.

It is the sixth year that a team from PONY’s European Zone has qualified for the DSGPLWS, since Paderborn, Germany first qualified in 2012. Since then, Paderborn has recorded two of the Zone’s three wins (2-1 in 2012; 12-0 in 2016) and Vienna, Austria has won one game (12-9 in 2016). All three wins have come against Washington, Pennsylvania.

Holland will travel across the Atlantic Ocean to Washington to face its first opponent in Game #4 on Saturday, Aug. 12 at 2:30 p.m. ET/US. The tournament will kick off Aug. 11 at the Lew Hays Pony Field in Washington Park. Keep up with Holland throughout the World Series online at plws.org and on PONY’s social media. 

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