Little League®, in conjunction with Baseball Australia, has officially announced that starting in 2017, the winner of the Australia Region Senior League Championship will be granted direct entry to the Senior League Baseball World Series. Australia Baseball offered the opportunity for boys and girls, ages 13 to 16, to play in the Senior League Baseball Division for the first time in 2016.
"The opportunities and experiences Senior League provides has been widely embraced by the Australian baseball community," said Mathew Sundstrom, Baseball Australia Head of Little League and National Championships. "Baseball Australia is pleased to gain direct entry to the Senior League World Series and is excited about the continued growth of Little League in Australia."
Australia's Little League program is one of the fastest growing in the world, with more than 1,000 Little League teams registered across the country. The increased popularity has translated to more than 50 percent growth in participants in Little League programs across Australia over just the past three years. For the first time ever, representatives from Australia will now gain direct entry to the Little League Baseball, Junior League Baseball, and Senior League Baseball World Series in 2017.
"We are grateful to see the dedication and support of Little League in Australia since 2008, when the first leagues were established, and will continue to provide the greatest experience for Little Leaguers throughout the country," said Dan Velte, Little League Senior Director of League Development and Regional Operations. "The success and achievements that these young athletes have accomplished is a testament to our strong partnership with Baseball Australia and the many dedicated volunteers who help make Little League in Australia possible."
At the 2016 Senior League Baseball World Series, Southern Mariners Little League from Melbourne, competed as the Asia-Pacific Region Champions, where they advanced all the way to the championship game, finishing as runners up. With the direct entry, the 2017 Australia Region Senior League Championship will take place at Albert Park Baseball Complex in Lismore, NSW, Australia. The winner will then advance to the Senior League Baseball World Series, held at the J.B. "Red" Owens Recreation Complex in Easley, S.C.