The White Rock All-Stars are set to compete in the Little League World Series this week in Williamsport

All-Stars qualify for Little League World Series

White Rock 12-year-olds head to Williamsport, Pa. after defeating East Nepean in Canadian Little League Championships.

The White Rock All-Stars are taking their talents to the world stage.

The White Rock-South Surrey Baseball Association’s 12-year-old Little Leaguers are set to take on the world this week, at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

On Sunday afternoon, the team of Peninsula 12-year-olds punched its ticket to the prestigious tournament – which is broadcast on television across North America and features some of the world’s top young players –  after a convincing 16-0 win over the host squad from East Nepean, Ont.

The White Rock champs now head immediately across the border to Pennsylvania, where they’ll play in the World Series’ International Division at the end of the week, alongside fellow regional champions from Japan, Mexico, Australia and the Caribbean, among others.

In Sunday’s final, White Rock and East Nepean played relatively evenly in the early going – the only runs scored in the first three innings came when the B.C. champs plated three in the second inning, after a runs of singles from Trent Lenihan, Marcus Bradley, Kole Turner and Kai Cumiskey combined with an error by an East Nepean outfielder.

The 3-0 lead held until the fourth, when White Rock exploded for five runs, highlighted by a home run – his fourth of the tournament – from Darius Opdam Bak.

The fifth inning was much of the same for the high-power White Rock offence, as the team exploded for eight runs.

The All-Stars sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning, and Lenihan put an exclamation point on the offensive barrage with two home runs – giving him five for the week.

East Nepean couldn’t close the substantial gap in the bottom half of the inning, and the game ended early on account of the mercy rule.

On the mound for White Rock, Matthew Wilkinson proved nearly impossible for East Nepean batters to hit, striking out 12 while allowing just one hit over the course of the game.

He finished the week as one of the tournament’s top pitchers, leading all hurlers in wins, with two, and strikeouts, with 31.

White Rock had a fair numbers of batters atop the tournament leaderboard, as well. Turner led all hitters in batting average with a .652 mark – Wilkinson, Opdam Bak and Taeo Maisonville also finished in the top 10 in average – while Lenihan finished with the most home runs.

Opdam Bak and Wilkinson finished in a second-place tie for homers, with four apiece. Opdam Bak also ended up leading the tournament in RBI, with 16.

After losing just one round-robin game earlier in the tournament – to the High Park Braves of Ontario – White Rock assured itself of a spot in semifinals with a win Wednesday over Moose Jaw.

Then, on Thursday, White Rock wrapped up its round-robin schedule with a 9-8 victory over High Park, to finish in top spot in the round robin.

In Saturday’s semifinal tilt, the B.C. representatives cruised to an 11-1 win over Nova Scotia’s Glace Bay Colonels, while East Nepean upset their provincial rivals from High Park for the second berth in the championship game.

Against Glace Bay, Opdam Bak earned the win on the mound, striking out eight over four-and-one-thirds innings, and Jay Mather came into the game in relief to record the final two outs, one of them by strikeout.

As was the case for much of the tourney, White Rock relied heavily on the long ball – Opdam Bak, Wilkinson, Turner and Alen Sugimoto all hit home runs to pace the offence.

Now, White Rock will trade their black and teal uniforms for red ones – adorned with the Maple Leaf. In Williamsport, they’ll hit the field for the first time Friday, when they square off against Mexico at 11 a.m. Pacific Time.

Just Posted

VIDEO: 5X Festival takes over Surrey’s Central City plaza

Second annual event draws thousands of people throughout the day

The struggle for space inside Surrey’s elementary schools

SECOND IN A SERIES: A look at how overcrowding impacts student life

City shifts proposed transit station to King George after cancellation of LRT

Council to consider Newton Town Centre plan in fall

VIDEO: Plane makes forced landing on Highway 17 in Surrey

Police say no one was injured and no damage to aircraft or vehicles

Nearly 200 motorcycles take off from Cloverdale for Brenden’s Ride

Annual fundraiser supports programs that empower people with disabilities

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Pride flag taken down by Township of Langley

Woman said she was told it was removed from her front yard because of a complaint

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Most Read