CHAMPS! KAU Juniors return home to victory parade tonight

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The National Champion KAU Junior League baseball team.

KENNETT SQUARE — Although they lost a tough matchup to Chinese Taipei in the World Championships, the KAU Junior League baseball won the National Championship — and became the talk of most of the sports world with an amazing catch by Jack Regenye, who literally leaped over the center field fence to rob a home run in Sunday’s game.

KAU — made up of athletes from both Kennett Consolidated School District and the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District — managed an incredible run over more than two weeks, just to get to the finals in Taylor, Mich.

After beating neighboring Delaware, 4-0, in the opening round of the East Regionals, they clobbered Connecticut, 13-1. Then with wins over Rhode Island and Massachusetts, it set up a regional final against New York – and KAU cruised to a 15-5 win.

That win sent them to the Junior League World Series.

With a 13-4 win over Southwest U.S., and then a pair of wins over Southeast U.S., 5-2 and 15-2, KAU advanced to the World Final — against the powerhouse Chinese Taipei team — ultimately losing 12-1.

And while winning the National Championship is nothing to sneeze at — this KAU team will be remembered for years because of Regenye’s amazing catch — featured on highlight shows from ESPN and other networks around the world.

Taipei’s Yi Hsiang Lin crushed a pitch to deep center in the fourth inning — and it looked like there was no way Regenye was going to have a play on the ball. But then he leaped into the air, over the fence and caught the ball in one amazing motion. He then leapt to his feet holding the ball up to show to umpires.

Umpires — startled by the catch — at first called Yi out. Then after some consultation (and protest by the Chinese Taipei manager), ruled it a home run, prompting Yi to circle the bases. Another conference by the umpires changed the ruling one last time — making it out and one of the greatest catches in baseball history. Video of the catch has gone viral around the Internet – and become a sensation.

The champs will be honored tonight in downtown Kennett Square with a procession along State Street, starting at 6 p.m. The procession will lead to the KAU field complex just off Route 82, with a ceremony to honor the team scheduled for 7 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.

 

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