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    News — Little League News

    Little League® World Series Expansion Postponed Until 2022

    Little League® World Series Expansion Postponed Until 2022

    Due to the ongoing impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic, that included the cancellation of the 2020 Little League® World Series and Regional Tournaments, the Little League International Board of Directors will postpone the expansion of the Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball® World Series until 2022. The decision allows the organization, and its local programs, to fully focus on providing the best 2021 season possible for all players, families, volunteers, and fans.

    “After a thorough review of our organization’s strategic initiatives as well as the ongoing uncertainty of how the Coronavirus pandemic will continue to impact the Little League program, the Little League International Board of Directors felt this was the best decision for the success of our organization and for the overall experience of each of our 6,500 local leagues,” said Hugh. E. Tanner, Little League International Board of Directors Chairman. “We look forward to the continued efforts to make the experience at all our regional and World Series tournaments exciting and memorable. The expansion of our Little League Baseball and Little League Softball World Series is one of the centerpieces of our strategic plan, and, while we’re sad to delay these plans, we are excited to welcome more communities to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and Greenville, North Carolina, in 2022.”

    As many local Little League programs work on returning to play following the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, the decision allows for both Little League International and its 6,500 local leagues to take the time to strategically evaluate their needs for a successful 2021 season. Little League International will continue to focus on providing the resources and guidance for families and volunteers, to help navigate local Little League seasons throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, as well as plan for the Little League International Tournament, where so many Little Leaguers dream of playing in a regional or World Series tournament.

    “Over the next year and a half, we are dedicated to providing the best guidance available, as we strategically evaluate and plan for all possible scenarios in 2021 and look forward to continuing our efforts to prepare for expansion and provide the once-in-a-lifetime experience to more children in 2022,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “With the celebration of the 75th Little League Baseball World Series now pushed back until 2022 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it is only fitting that the decision to expand remains in coordination with that event, as we get ready to celebrate the next chapter of this iconic event.”

    Originally announced in August 2019, the decision was made to expand the number of teams at the Little League Baseball World Series from 16 to 20 and Little League Softball World Series from 10 to 12 with the goal of providing more children with the opportunity to experience the benefits of the World Series, both on and off the field, as well as the overall journey through the Little League International Tournament.

    Based on the postponement of the expansion, Little League International will continue to evaluate the timeline of its facility enhancements that are connected to the expansion in Williamsport. More information regarding the expansion, as it becomes available, will be communicated directly to local league officials and can be found on LittleLeague.org.

    Little League® Cancels 2020 World Series and Region Tournaments

    Little League® Cancels 2020 World Series and Region Tournaments

    Due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Little League International has made the difficult and disappointing decision to cancel its World Series and Region Tournaments for first time in organization history; commits approximately $1.2 million in support to local leagues
    2020 MLB Little League Classic Presented by GEICO Also Canceled; Event Will Return in 2021
    After a thorough assessment of the impact the devastating COVID-19 pandemic has had on 6,500 community-based Little League® programs in 84 countries and based upon the direction of governmental and public health authorities, and in consultation with medical professionals and our Board of Directors, Little League International has made the difficult and disappointing decision to cancel its seven World Series tournaments and their respective regional qualifying events.

    “This is a heartbreaking decision for everyone at Little League International, but more so for those millions of Little Leaguers who have dreamt of one day playing in one of our seven World Series events,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “After exhausting all possible options, we came to the conclusion that because of the significant public health uncertainty that will still exist several months from now, and with direction from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, as well as senior public health officials and government leaders from locations where our other six World Series are held, as well as the their qualifying regional tournaments, it will not be possible to proceed with our tournaments as we’ve hosted them for nearly 75 years.”

    As we assessed the feasibility of including these tournament opportunities as part of that resumption of play, a number of factors went into the decision to cancel the World Series and Regional Tournaments, including:

    The inability to play qualifying tournaments in many of our U.S. and International regions, coupled with direction from federal officials regarding the complexity of international travel restrictions and immigration requirements.
    An indication from teams from around the globe that they will be unable to participate or travel to these tournaments.
    The testing and mitigation protocols that would need to be in place at these significant public events should an individual participating or attending an event be diagnosed with COVID-19.
    The cancellation includes the 82 regional qualifying tournaments and their respective seven World Series events:

    Little League Baseball – South Williamsport, Pa.
    Little League Softball® – Greenville, N.C.
    Intermediate (50/70) Baseball – Livermore, Calif.
    Junior League Baseball – Taylor, Mich.
    Junior League Softball – Kirkland, Wash.
    Senior League Baseball – Easley, S.C.
    Senior League Softball –Sussex County, Del.
    As 2021 was originally supposed to be the playing of the 75th Little League Baseball World Series, that celebration will now take place in 2022. More information about World Series locations and future dates can be found at LittleLeague.org.

    As a result of this decision, the 2020 MLB Little League Classic presented by GEICO, originally scheduled for August 23 between the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles, has also been canceled. Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have already committed to returning to Williamsport for the 2021 MLB Little League Classic next August.

    “Delivering this news comes with a very heavy heart. We have never had to cancel our World Series tournaments, but, right now, as our world comes together, we must do everything we can to help stem the spread of this deadly virus,” said Hugh E. Tanner, Little League International Board of Directors Chairman. “While we take this pause from the World Series and Regional Tournaments this summer, we are committed to working with our volunteers and staff to continue to provide an unparalleled youth sports experience to all children and be back stronger than ever in 2021.”

    To assist the local Little League programs as they continue to assess their local operations, Little League International will be crediting all chartered programs with the affiliation fees paid for their chartered teams in 2020, which totals approximately $1.2 million in support to local leagues. These funds will be credited through Little League’s Data Center and be available for local leagues to use on current balances, future affiliation and insurance fees, tournament enrollment, and other Little League-related expenses.

    As each state and community will have different guidance for resuming organized youth sports, Little League International strongly encourages volunteers to confirm with their local and state health officials that it is safe to do so before resuming Little League activity after May 11. These playing opportunities could include not only regular season activities, but opportunities for local district, and, perhaps, state all-star tournament play to provide players, especially those moving up to a new age division in 2021, a tournament experience, if possible and safe.

    The 18 Girls Who Have Made Little League Baseball® World Series History

    The 18 Girls Who Have Made Little League Baseball® World Series History

    In 1974, the Little League® Federal Charter was amended; allowing girls to play Little League Baseball® and the Little League Softball® program was created. That same year, tennis legend Billie Jean King established the Women’s Sport Foundation. In 1987, the foundation launched National Girls and Women in Sports Day, to celebrate the accomplishments of all female athletes, including the millions of women from around the world who are Little League graduates.

    Of those millions, there are only 18 that have played in the Little League Baseball World Series. In 2014, as Little League celebrated its 75th Anniversary and the 40th Anniversary of girls in Little League, two girls helped celebrate those milestones, helping their teams advance to the 68th Little League Baseball World Series.

    Mo’ne Davis on the Mid-Atlantic Region team and Emma March on the Canada Region team, were the 17th and 18th girls to play in the series.

    Ms. Davis made headlines around the world. Her performance on the mound for the Taney Youth Baseball Association Little League from Philadelphia helped the Mid-Atlantic Region Champions advance deep in the tournament. For the entire series, she threw 14 strikeouts and only allowed three earned runs in 8 1/3 innings pitched. Since competing with her team at the Little League Baseball World Series, she has returned back to Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, where she is on the honor roll and, as an eighth-grader, she’s playing varsity girls basketball.

    Ms. March also had a solid Little League Baseball World Series performance for the South Vancouver Little League team from British Columbia. Pitching and playing first base, she registered a fielding percentage of .917, with 11 putouts. Now in seventh grade Corpus Christi Elementary in Vancouver, the straight-A student is playing volleyball, soccer, and softball, with baseball and potentially football on the horizon.

    “I believe every girl should have the opportunity to play sports and enjoy it,” said Ms. March. “Sports are not something you should be afraid of. It should be something that excites you. You should never be afraid to fail, nor should you care what the boys think.”

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