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Panama, Netherlands Antilles Earn Little League World Series Berths

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (July 30, 2001) – Teams from Panama and Netherlands Antilles won their respective regional titles on Saturday, earning berths in the Little League Baseball World Series, Aug. 17-26.

Club Activo 20-30 Little League of Santiago de Veraguas, Panama, defeated Coquivacoa Little League of Maracaibo, Venezuela, 3-2, in the Latin American Region championship game. In the Caribbean Region title game, Pariba Little League of Willemstad, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, defeated Aruba Norte Little League of Aruba, 3-1. Both tournaments were played in Panama City, Panama.

Santiago de Veraguas is the fourth Panamanian league to reach the Little League Baseball World Series since 1984. Panama’s last trip to Williamsport was in 1993. The Club Activo 20-30 Little League is located in a rural area of the province of Veraguas on the southern peninsula of the isthmus.

The only other time a team from Curacao reached the Little League Baseball World Series was in 1980. The Netherlands Antilles, an autonomous part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, consists of two island groups in the Caribbean Sea. Curacao is just off the coast of Venezuela. Although most of the people of Netherlands Antilles speak English, Dutch is the official language, and Papiamento (a Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect) is the dominant language. Spanish is also spoken by many residents.

Panama and Netherlands Antilles join Matamoros (Mexico) Little League and Arabian-American Little League of Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, as the only teams determined thus far for the World Series. The Little League Baseball World Series expands this year from eight teams to 16, as more than 200 children from around the world will converge on Williamsport for the 55th annual series for 11-12 year olds.

The total televised World Series games will be 19, compared to 11 last year. The championship game of the Little League Baseball World Series can be seen live on ABC-TV at 6:30 p.m., on Sunday, Aug. 26 – the first prime-time telecast of the Series final. ABC will also televise the U.S. Championship Game on Saturday, August 25, at 4:30 p.m.

Little League Baseball is the largest organized youth sports program in the world, with nearly 3 million participants in all 50 states and 104 other countries.