For the first time since 2018, a Michigan team will play in Williamsport, PA, representing the Great Lakes region.

The Taylor North Little League team won the Great Lakes regional tournament on Sunday by defeating Hamilton, Ohio 9-1 in Whitestown, Indiana. They will begin play at the World Series on Thursday.

Taylor North would have gone to the World Series win or lose, because this year only, the top two teams from each region qualified because there will be no international teams at the series this season because of Covid. But the team punched out Ohio anyway to earn a higher seed in the series.

Ethan VanBelle was a hero for Taylor North both at the plate and on the mound. He gave up just one run and one hit while pitching, and then added a three run double to give North a big lead they never relinquished.

The team is the first to represent Michigan in the Little League World Series since Grosse Pointe Shores won two games in Williamsport in 2018. Grosse Pointe Shores also sent teams to the finals in 2014 and 2015.

The last Michigan team to win the Little League World Series was also from the Detroit area. Hamtramck won it all way back in 1959, paced by pitching ace Pinky Deras (you got to love that name!) who tossed 16 shutouts and an amazing 10 no-hitters over the course of the districts, regionals and finals.

16 teams from across the country will vie for the title starting Thursday and running through Sunday, August 29. The Series is double elimination (two losses and you're out). Normally, eight US teams and eight international teams would square off, but the coronavirus has squelched that.


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