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Little League Announces Dates for 2007 World Series Tournaments
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Nov. 14, 2006) – The sites and dates for the eight World Series tournaments in Little League Baseball and Softball were approved on Friday by the Little League International Board of Directors, it was announced today by Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball.
For the 61st Little League Baseball World Series, held annually in Williamsport, Pa., the first games will be played on Friday, Aug. 17, and the tournament will end on Sunday, Aug. 26, at Howard J. Lamade Stadium with the world championship for baseball players 11-12 years old. On Saturday, Aug. 25, the United States and the International championships will be decided.
Last August, all 32 games of the 2006 Little League Baseball World Series were televised on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, or ABC. It was the second consecutive year that all of the World Series Tournament games were televised.
In addition, all eight U.S. regional championships were broadcast on ESPN or ESPN2 in 2006. The semifinal and championship games of the Little League Softball World Series, as well as the Junior League Baseball and Big League Softball championship games were also carried on the ESPN family of networks.
Williamsport has been the home of Little League since it was founded there in 1939, and the final game of the tournament is traditionally on the weekend before the U.S. Labor Day weekend. Labor Day in 2007 is Sept. 3.
The other seven World Series dates and sites are: Junior League Baseball (13-14-year-olds), at Taylor, Mich., Aug. 12-18; Senior League Baseball (14-16-year-olds), at Bangor, Maine, Aug. 12-18; Big League Baseball (16-18-year-olds), at Easley, S.C., July 28-Aug. 4; Little League Softball (11-12-year-old girls) at Portland, Ore., Aug. 9-15; Junior League Softball (13-14-year-old girls), at Kirkland, Wash., Aug. 12-18; Senior League Softball (14-16-year-old girls), at Lower Sussex, Del., Aug. 5-11; and Big League Softball (16-18-year-old girls), at Kalamazoo, Mich., Aug. 13-18.
Specific times and dates for all televised games will be announced in June 2007.
In another action by the Little League International Board of Directors, it was announced that Japan, which has more Little League programs than any country except the United States, will be designated as a separate region starting with the 2007 Little League Baseball International Tournament.
Since the Little League Baseball World Series expanded from eight teams to 16 in 2001, Japan has been part of the Asia Region. Japan has won the Asia Region title and advanced to the Little League World Series every year during that time, except in 2003.
The new alignment means the Japanese national champion in the Little League Baseball Division will receive an automatic berth in the Little League Baseball World Series.
It also means the former Asia and Pacific regions will be combined as the Asia-Pacific Region (minus Japan), with that winner advancing to the Little League Baseball World Series. Countries involved in the Asia-Pacific Regional Tournament are likely to include China, Chinese Taipei, Guam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, New Zealand, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, Philippines, and Thailand.
“The idea of Japan being designated as a separate region has been discussed over the past year by senior Little League volunteers in the Asia-Pacific Region,” Patrick Wilson, vice president of operations for Little League International, said. “In our annual review of the regional structure, a recommendation was made to the Little League International Board of Directors, and it was approved.”
Japan has nearly 300 chartered Little League programs. Canada and Mexico, which already are considered separate regions with automatic berths in the Little League Baseball World Series, have 175 and 147 chartered Little Leagues, respectively. The other international regions in the Little League Baseball World Series are Latin America, Caribbean, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), and Transatlantic, for a total of eight international teams.
The United States has more than 6,000 chartered Little League programs. The U.S. is divided into eight geographic regions, with each sending its championship team to the Little League Baseball World Series.
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.