JAPAN EARNS LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES BERTH
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- A team from Tokyo, Japan, will represent the Far East Region in the 54th Little League Baseball World Series, Aug. 20-26 at Howard J. Lamade Stadium.
Masashi Fuchu Little League of Tokyo, which won the Far East Region Tournament played in Guam, is the first team determined for the 2000 Series. The next regional winner will come from the Latin America Regional Tournament, scheduled to end Saturday in Barranquilla, Colombia.
Masashi Fuchu Little League won five games and lost one in the pool play round of the Far East Region Tournament. Japan’s only loss came on Thursday (July 27), 8-2, against the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, but it came back to defeat a team from Korea 2-1 in the championship game today.
A team from Osaka, Japan, won the Far East Region Tournament last year and went on to defeat Phenix City (Ala.) Little League, 5-0, for the Little League Baseball World Series championship.
Japan, with more than 300 Little League programs, has sent teams to the Little League World Series (for 11-12 year olds) 11 times, winning world championships in 1967, ’68, ’76 and ’99. Masashi Fuchu Little League is the sixth league from Tokyo, Japan’s largest city, to advance beyond the regional level.
The U.S. Regional Tournament dates are: U.S. East at Bristol, Conn., Aug. 8-17; U.S. Central at Indianapolis, Aug. 8-16; U.S. West at San Bernardino, Calif., Aug. 7-17; U.S. South at St. Petersburg, Fla., Aug. 7-15. The Canada Regional Tournament in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, begins Aug. 9 and ends Aug. 14. The European Regional Tournament begins Saturday and will end at a time to be announced.
The championship games of the U.S. regional tournaments can be seen live on ESPN2. The schedule follows: U.S. South, Aug. 15, 8 p.m.; U.S. Central, Aug. 16, 6:30 p.m.; U.S. East, Aug. 17, 8 p.m.; U.S. West, Aug. 17, 11 p.m. (All times Eastern).
Nine Little League World Series games will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2, as well as a hitting contest and all-star game. The championship game on Aug. 26 will be televised on ABC Wide World of Sports at 4:30 p.m.
About 15,000 games in six weeks are played nationwide in Little League Division tournaments leading up to the regional tournaments. Teams representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia advance to the four U.S. regional tournaments, where tournament play continues for a week or more. Thirty-six states and 21 countries have sent teams to the Little League World Series since the first Series was played in 1947.
Little League Baseball is the largest organized youth sports program in the world, with nearly 3 million participants in all 50 states and 103 other countries.