Pony World Series tradition continues at Washington
For the 31st consecutive summer, Lew Hays Field in Washington Park will host the Pony League World Series.
The 2014 10-team, double elimination tournament for 13- and 14-year olds begins Aug. 8 and concludes with the 7:30 p.m. championship game Aug. 13.
The tourney' will open with the Caribbean Zone champion facing the South Zone champion at 5:30 p.m. and North Zone against the Host Area at 8 p.m.
Three games will take place on Aug. 9 with the East Zone 9 and West Zone at 11:30 a.m., European Zone and Washington at 2 p.m., and Asia-Pacific Zone against the first game winner at 5:30 p.m.
Another three-game slate is scheduled for Aug. 10 with Mexico facing the game 4 winner at 3 p.m. while the losers of the tourney's first two games play at 5:30 p.m. The third day concludes with the game 3 and 4 losers squaring off at 8 p.m.
A tourney-most four games will be contested on Aug. 11-12 with starting times at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Games contested Aug.1 3 before the title game will be determined on game results.
WPCW-TV, a CBS affiliate, will provide live televised coverage of the 5:30 game Aug. 9 between the Asia Pacific Zone Champion and winner of game, as well as the championship game on Aug. 13.
This is the first time in the history of the Pony League World Series that a broadcast TV station will provide live tournament coverage.
“This is a unique opportunity to showcase the best 13- and 14-year-old baseball players in the world,” said Abraham Key, President and CEO of Pony Baseball and Softball.
WJPA-AM Radio (1450 AM) and MSASports.net will offer complete live coverage of all Pony World Series games.
Founded in 1951, Pony has more than 500,000 annual participants ages 5-18 in baseball and girls softball. The name Pony comes from the acronym, Protect Our Nation's Youth. The concept for the name originally came from boys at the local YMCA in Washington and stood for “Protect Our Neighborhood Youth,” but when PONY became an international program in the early 1950's. “Neighborhood” was switched to “Nation's.”
This year's event will be the 52nd time in the 63-year existence that the Pony League World Series will take place in Washington.
Washington played host to the first 12 Pony League championships from 1952 through 1963 and also served as host of the Pony World Series from 1968-73, 1976, and 1981-82. Since 1984 the Pony League World Series has taken place every year at Washington Park.
Lew Hayes Field is a registered Historical Pennsylvania Landmark, which was built by a volunteer work force in 1952. The first World Series played on that field was in 1953.
The Washington Park field was named in honor of Hayes, the league's first commissioner, in 1998. Hayes held the commissioner's title until being named the league's second president in 1964 when he replaces Joseph Evans Brown.
Whichever team wins this worldwide event will receive the Roy Gillespie Trophy. This championship trophy is named posthumously in honor of the former sportswriter from Illinois. Gillespie, along with Hayes and Brown, helped promote Pony League Baseball in its initial years. He followed Hayes and was Pony's third president.
Last summer, Okinawa, Japan, won four, one-run games to win the 2013 World Series and give the Asia-Pacific Zone its 10th Pony championship.
For more information regarding the Pony League World Series' events, sponsorship opportunities, as well as other World Series news, visit their website at ponyworldseries.org.
The tournament chairman since 1985 has been Bob Gregg, who also handles the radio broadcasting duties along with Mark Uriah. Gregg can be reached at 724-222-110 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bruce Wald is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.