Six domestic teams and five international teams will compete for the title, beginning Wednesday night at the J.B. “Red” Owens Recreation Complex.
Two teams receive automatic bids to the BLWS. The host team, of course, receives an automatic bid every year.
S.C. District One conducts its Big League season in January each year, to avoid conflicts with American Legion, AAU or travel ball seasons. The host team is selected from the players who participate in the January league.
While the host team has the “home field” advantage, it also has the disadvantage of having little time to play together and develop teamwork. The team has had a limited number of practices together, and will play in its first game as a team tonight when the host team plays the U.S. West tonight.
Because of the growing number of teams playing in the Latin American region, a second spot for those teams was created several years ago.
Mexico and Puerto Rico, which had dominated the Latin American field, alternate taking one of the two Latin American spots in the Big League World Series. Whichever team does not receive the automatic bid is allowed to compete in the Latin American Regional with the hopes of winning the second spot.
This year, Mexico receives the automatic bid.
For the second consecutive year, the Dominican Republic has won the Latin American Regional.
In the Latin American Regional, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico were both 5-1 in pool play. Puerto Rico’s only loss was a 13-9 decision to the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic has lost to Venezuela.
In the semi-finals, Puerto Rico defeated Venezuela, while the Dominican Republic topped Curacao, setting up the rematch for the region title.
The Dominican Republic defeated Puerto Rico 5-4 in the championship game, avenging a loss to Puerto Rico in the semi-finals of last year’s Big League World Series.
In the EMEA Regional, only Germany, Lithuania and the Netherlands participated this year. With just three teams involved, the tournament featured each team playing the other two twice before eliminating one team for the championship game.
Lithuania was the team eliminated, going 0-4 in pool play. Germany and the Netherlands were both 3-1, splitting games with each other in pool play.
In the championship game, Germany pounded the Netherlands 24-7 to take the EMEA Regional title and advance to the BLWS.
In the Asia/Pacific Regional, Siapan seemed to have the inside track, finishing pool play with a perfect 3-0 record. Guam placed second, with a 2-1 record that included a 5-1 loss to Siapan.
In the championship game, however, Guam hammered Siapan 9-2 to win the regional and advance to the BLWS.
In the Canadian Regional, the host team from Windsor, Ontario, seemed to have the tournament in hand, finishing pool play with a perfect 5-0 record. Atlantic had eased into the semi-finals as the third-place team from pool play, finishing with a 3-2 record.
The host team defeated the Prairies in the semi-finals, and Atlantic upset British Columbia, setting up the host team vs. Atlantic as the championship game.
Atlantic defeated the host team 9-4 in the championship game, taking the Canadian Regional title and advancing to the BLWS.
It was a Florida-based championship game in the U.S. Southeast tournament, as the host team — Florida District 21 — faced the Florida state champions — District 17.
District 21 earned its spot in the championship game by defeating West Virginia 4-2. District 17 advanced to the title game with a 3-2 win over South Carolina.
When the two Florida teams had played each other during pool play, District 21 had won 17-1. But in the championship game, District 17 won 8-4, earning a spot in the BLWS.
In the U.S. Southwest Regional, the host team from Rushton, La., won a double-elimination tournament, but it wasn’t easy.
Louisiana was able to stay in the winners bracket throughout the tournament. Texas West suffered an early loss, but fought its way back to the championship game.
Texas West won the first game between the two teams, leaving each with one loss in the tournament, and setting up a rematch for the title.
In the rematch, Louisiana edged Texas West 12-10 to win the region title and advance to the Big League World Series.
Out West, the Southern California champs from Thousand Oaks, Calif., were able to take the title and return to Easley for another shot at the Big League World Series championship.
Thousand Oaks won the 2006 Big League World Series in Easley.
This year, Southern California finished pool play undefeated, then topped Hawaii 7-1 in the semi-finals. Thousand Oaks then won the West Regional by defeating Nevada 4-3.
In the U.S. Central Regional, the playing field was very level, with Illinois finishing pool play with a 3-1 record, then three other teams being tied for second with 2-2 marks.
The host team, from Wyoming, Mich., won the tiebreaker, earning the opportunity to play Illinois in a best-of-three series for the title.
But Illinois was able to win in just two games, 3-0 and 5-2, taking the U.S. Central title and advancing to the Big League World Series.
The final spot in the BLWS belongs to the U.S. East Regional champions, Williamsport, Pa.
Pennsylvania was able to win the double-elimination tournament without suffering a loss. Pennsylvania topped New Jersey 10-0 in the winners-bracket finals. New Jersey earn its spot in the championship game by coming out of the losers’ bracket, but Pennsylvania defeated New Jersey 8-6 in the rematch, earning a spot in the Big League World Series.