In 1947 in Williamsport, PA., The first Little League World Series WAS played. Back then a crowd of 2,000 watched the hometown Maynard Little League defeat a team from Lock Haven, N.Y., which was only 25 miles away, by a score of 16-7.
The world was a lot smaller 40 years ago. Last Saturday a national TV audience and a crowd of 35,000, which included 13 members of the original championship team, saw a team from Hua Lin, Taiwan, beat Irvine, Calif., 21-1 in the 1987 Little League World Series, in Williamsport. The win gave the Far East its 17th Series victory in the last 21 years, and Taiwan its 12th in 14 appearances. The 21 runs broke the record for the most runs scored in a championship game, set by that Maynard team 40 years ago.
Pang Yu-Long hit two home runs, including a grand slam, while pitcher Lin Yi-Hung held Irvine to six hits. Poor Aron Garcia. He gave up all 21 runs before Bob Garcia, his father and manager, took him out after 2? innings.
As powerful as Hua Lin seemed, it nearly lost in the semifinals to a team from Moca, Dominican Republic. Thanks to dazzling defensive plays by shortstop Wilkier Pichardo and centerfielder Juan Delos Santos, Moca and Hua Lin were tied 0-0 after seven innings, one inning more than regulation, when play was suspended on Thursday because of darkness. On Friday, though, the Taiwanese came up with four quick runs to win 4-0.
"Things sure have changed since we were here," said Jack Losch, who was a member of the original Little League champs and went on to play in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers. But one thing hadn't changed. Frank Rizzo, 76, the home plate umpire, was behind the plate for Saturday's game, as he was for the final in '47.