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Confederation of European Baseball Welcomes Little League to Meeting in Italy

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Mar. 5, 2007) – Nick Caringi, director of operations for Little League Baseball and Softball, recently returned from a four-day visit to Tirrenia, Italy, where nearly 50 youth baseball and softball coaches participated in clinic sessions organized through the Confederation of European Baseball.

Among the topics introduced by Mr. Caringi were the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) Little League Double-Coach program, Al & Al skill development principles, and ASAP (A Safety Awareness Plan).

“The whole purpose of the trip was to sit down with these coaches and introduce them to Little League,” Mr. Caringi said. “The language was the only barrier, because the enthusiasm for Little League was the same as you would find at any clinic we do in the United States.”

The Confederation of European Baseball (CEB), the governing body for national baseball federations in Europe, agreed to begin affiliating with Little League for the 2007 season. The agreement opens Little League’s extensive array of training aids, clinics and seminars to players and volunteers throughout the continent.

The number of players the agreement will bring to the Little League program is unclear, but is thought to be thousands in the 39 countries of the CEB. Currently, Little League programs are operating in 20 European nations.

“Those in attendance seemed to be impressed with what we talked about, and had a pretty good handle on the sports of baseball and softball,” Mr. Caringi said. “I feel these meetings opened up the thinking about how to create a healthy and safe sports environment for children, while providing the means by which volunteers may educate as well.”

The three days of clinics were held at the Olympic Trainer Center near Pisa, which included a visit from Riccardo Fraccari, president of the Federation of Italian Baseball and Softball. Mr. Caringi’s visit was coordinated by Giuseppe Guilizzoni, district administrator for Italy.

Mr. Caringi said Mr. Fraccari was interested in the feedback from those in attendance. The resources available to chartered leagues such as the PCA, research on why children play Little League, an explanation of mandatory play, and introduction to the pitch count were all part of the conversation, along with the partnership with the CEB, and general mission of the Little League program.

“The coaches wanted to know how to get more people involved, so I described to them what makes Little League stand out,” Mr. Caringi said. “These meetings were part of a larger effort to grow the program internationally.”

Countrywide, Italy charters 16 Little Leagues, with more than 2,000 children participating in Major, Junior and Senior League baseball, as well as Senior League softball.

Nick Caringi, center, director of operations for Little League International, recently returned from a trip to Tirrenia, Italy. While in Italy, Mr. Caringi conducted a series of clinics aimed at introducing current, and prospective Little League volunteers to the variety of programs available through affiliation with Little League Baseball and Softball. The clinics were organized by the Confederation of European Baseball, which is governing body for national baseball federations in Europe.