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Little League Urban Initiative Teams to Play Exhibition Games At Former Maynard Little League Field in Williamsport

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (July 27, 2006) – Williamsport, Pa., is the birthplace of Little League Baseball, and this year the City of Williamsport will draw on some of the same hometown inspiration the nurtured Little League in the early years when it hosts the inaugural “World Series Jamboree” celebration on Aug. 25 at the Campbell Street Family and Youth Center.

During the 60th Little League Baseball World Series, Aug. 18-27, in South Williamsport, Pa., Little League all-star teams from North Richmond Little League (Richmond, Va.); Wilkinsburg Little League (Pittsburgh, Pa); Walter “Pop” Smith Little League (New Haven, Conn.); and Pelham Parkway Little League (The Bronx, N.Y.) will be in Williamsport for a series of exhibition games, Aug. 24-26. Each of these leagues have chartered through the Little League Urban Initiative, Little League’s endeavor to bring the benefits of the program to families in urban areas.

“The city of Williamsport is pleased that Little League International along with numerous local Little League volunteers and businesses have come together to rejuvenate Maynard Field for the benefit of the Campbell Street Family and Youth Center,” Mayor of Williamsport Mary Wolf, said. “The World Series Jamboree is wonderful way to showcase the commitment of Williamsporters to a cause that supports the neighborhood communities now, and helps to make a brighter future for our children. This project and event are indicative of the type of camaraderie that Little League creates when individuals unite for the common good.”

The “World Series Jamboree” event, supported by the City of Williamsport, Williamsport Recreation Commission, Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, CAPPA, Inc., the Lycoming County Housing Authority, Williamsport Area School District, and Timberland Apartments, is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., with games to be played at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the former Maynard Little League Field, 600 Campbell Street. Along with the games, food and craft vendors will be on hand, along with live entertainment and other family-oriented events.

“The community partnership formed in support of the revitalization project at Maynard Field has restored a jewel in the city of Williamsport,” Beth Turner, director of the Lycoming County Housing Authority, said. “We are pleased that Little League International will be helping us to christen this project as part of the World Series Jamboree. Through this event, and the huge support of the community partners, Williamsport has come together and refocused on having an urban Little League program playing on the Maynard Field.”

During their visit to Williamsport, the teams will also play exhibition games at the Little League International complex. The trip was made possible through financial contributions to the Urban Initiative by the Torii Hunter Project, a collaborative effort headed by Minnesota Twins All-Star outfielder Torii Hunter and supported by fellow Major Leaguers Gary Sheffield (New York Yankees); Rondell White and Shannon Stewart (Minnesota Twins); Derrek Lee and Jacque Jones (Chicago Cubs); LaTroy Hawkins (Baltimore Orioles); Ken Griffey, Jr. (Cincinnati Reds); Dontrelle Willis (Florida Marlins); and Joey Gathright (Kansas City Royals).

The mission of The Torii Hunter Project is to promote and encourage children to play baseball. Along with providing for the travel expenses for the teams trip to this year’s World Series, the Torii Hunter Project also will support the 2007 Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree. The Jamboree annually provides 10 regular-season teams from leagues aided, or chartered through, the Urban Initiative, the chance to travel to Little League International from various points throughout the country for a weekend full of games, instruction and plenty of fun. In 2007, the fourth annual Jamboree will welcome 16 teams to Williamsport, Pa., home of Little League Baseball and Softball.

The Little League Urban Initiative, which is operating in more than 200 leagues, provides assistance packages for eligible leagues that aid the local volunteer group with equipment acquisition, capital improvement cash grants, field improvement and renovation, access to Little League Baseball and Softball education and training programs, advocacy, and networking.

The Urban Initiative has also been working with the community services office of the Pennsylvania State Police Troop F in Montoursville to reintroduce Little League to children who participate in the Campbell Street Family and Youth Center. Through collaborative efforts with the Urban Initiative, the Lycoming County Housing Authority, the City of Williamsport, and local businesses, the former Maynard Little League Field has been renovated and is being utilized by the children of the community.

“Little League International is thrilled to work with the city and the housing authority to give these four Urban Initiative teams the opportunity to visit and interact in a community that is similar to their home neighborhoods,” David James, Little League Urban Initiative director, said. “The efforts by the Pennsylvania State Police to encourage children and families to participate in healthy activities like Little League are commendable. We are hopeful this event will remind those who live and do business in Williamsport of the positive benefits of Little League.”

Vendors wishing to be a part of the “World Series Jamboree,” should contact Rocky Boone at: 570-322-5515. For more information on the Little League Urban Initiative, Little League’s web site is: www.littleleague.org. For more information on the Torii Hunter Project, log on to: www.ToriiHunter48.com.

Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.7 million players and 1 million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and scores of other countries.