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 > Little League Online > Media > Little League News Archive > 2013 > January-April > A Successful Inaugural Year Culminates at the Little League® Intermediate (50/70) Baseball World Series

A Successful Inaugural Year Culminates at the Little League® Intermediate (50/70) Baseball World Series

A Successful Inaugural Year Culminates at the Little League® Intermediate (50/70) Baseball World Series

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The first-ever Little League® Intermediate (50/70) Baseball World Series took place in Livermore, Calif., July 30 through August 5, 2013, and featured six teams from across the United States and four international teams.

The first new Little League division since 1999, which utilizes a 50-foot pitching distance and 70-foot base paths, was introduced in 2010 as a pilot program, but became an official division in 2013 for players ages 11-13, culminating in an international tournament and World Series.

Dave Wetmore, Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball World Series Tournament Director, explains that this new division facilitates an easier transition for players as they move up from standard Little League Baseball® fields (46-foot pitching distance and 60-foot base paths) to Junior, Senior and Big League fields (60-foot, 6-inch pitching distance and 90-foot base paths). It gives these players the chance to advance their skills while getting used to the longer pitching distance, base paths, and faster speed of the game.

“Going from Little League to Junior League was kind of like going from grade school straight to high school and skipping middle school all together. That jump can be tough for some kids,” said Mr. Wetmore. “The 50/70 league allows for an extra stepping-stone for players that might be overwhelmed when they get to Junior League. The bigger field and advanced rules also help bring out the competitive nature for the kids who want to prepare for the next level of baseball.”

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Fans enjoying the inaugural Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball World Series at Max Baer Park in Livermore, Calif.

Along with the different pitching and base-path distances, the Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball Division includes some Junior League rules to allow for more advanced play. Runners are permitted to lead off bases, attempt to steal at any time, slide head first into bases and an on-deck batter is allowed.

The Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball Division gives players and their families the option to continue to play competitive baseball in their local communities with all the benefits of being a part of an officially chartered Little League team.

The end result of a very successful inaugural regular for the Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball Division, for nearly 2,500 teams worldwide, was the World Series tournament. This year, the regions represented were Central, East, Southeast, Southwest, West, Asia-Pacific, Canada, Latin America, Puerto Rico and the Host team from California District 57.

Like the other eight Little League World Series tournaments, all expenses were paid by Little League International for these teams to travel to the inaugural Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball World Series.

In just its first year, more than 25,000 people traveled to Livermore, Calif., to enjoy this historic tournament. Little League’s website had links to a live stream for all of the games leading up to the championship game, which gave thousands of people the opportunity to follow the action. The championship game was televised on ESPN2.

“The response to the new 50/70 league from players and coaches has been great. It has become a very popular division this year and everyone seems to be grasping the program with a lot of excitement,” said Mr. Wetmore.

The championship match up was between Osaka, Japan, representing the Asia-Pacific division, and Collier Township, Pennsylvania, representing the East Division. All teams, coaches, and parents responded positively to the format of the new league.

Japan went on to defeat Pennsylvania 10-0 to clench the first Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball World Series championship title. Both teams played an aggressive game of baseball that entertained more than 5,300 fans at Max Baer Park from beginning to end.

“I see this league growing very fast. Next year it will double. And I wouldn't be surprised if the following year, it doubled again,” said Mr. Wetmore.

Congratulations to all teams and volunteers involved in the first complete season and tournament of the Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball Division.