As the national champion, Bayamo Little League has qualified for direct entry into the 2023 Little League Baseball® World Series Tournament
With its 2-1 series win over Habana del Este Little League in the best-of-three country championship, Bayamo Little League has made history by becoming the first league from Cuba to qualify for the Little League Baseball® World Series.
“Since establishing our partnership with the Cuban Baseball Federation four years ago, we have continued to find ways to provide memorable experiences to children in 180 municipal communities all across the country, and we applaud Bayamo Little League on becoming Cuba’s first national champion with direct entry to the World Series,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League® President and CEO. “We look forward to working with U.S. government authorities, our league volunteers, and Cuban officials to help bring the team to Williamsport and to be able to experience the memories, excitement, and joy that the World Series provides to children from all over the world each summer.”
Bayamo Little League finished the Cuban Tournament with an 8-2 record en-route to the championship title. In the best-of-three championship series, Habana del Este Little League picked up the opening game victory, 7-5, but Bayamo Little League was able to bounce back in the second game of the doubleheader to seal a 10-4 victory and force a game three for the championship on Sunday, March 5. After a back-and-forth championship finale that went into extra innings, it was Bayamo Little League who came out on top in the end, claiming a 6-2 victory with four runs in the top of the seventh to win the series.
Cuba’s direct entry to the World Series comes as part of the Little League Baseball World Series expansion that was announced in 2019 and went into effect in 2022. With its direct entry into the 2023 event, Cuba qualifies to become the 29th international country to earn a spot in the Little League Baseball World Series and will once again qualify for direct entry in 2024 as part of the international rotation.
Since the agreement between Little League International and the Cuban Baseball Federation was signed in 2019, teams from Cuba have performed well in their two appearances at the Caribbean Region Tournament. In Cuba’s first year as an affiliated program, Havana Little League made its way to the semifinals, falling to eventual Region Champion, Pabao Little League from Curacao, finishing with a 5-2 record in the 2019 Region Tournament. After not being able to compete in 2020 or 2021 due to the pandemic, Cuba returned to the Caribbean Region tournament in 2022 as Liga Santa Clara worked its way to the championship game before falling once again to Pabao Little League, finishing the event with a 5-1 record. In both 2019 and 2022, Pabao Little League would also go on to claim the International Championship Banner at the World Series.
The 2023 Little League Baseball World Series is scheduled for August 16-27. The official schedule for the tournament is available now with the first-round pairings set to be randomly drawn in June, all of which will be shared at LittleLeague.org/WorldSeries as it becomes available. To learn more about planning a visit to Williamsport for the World Series, go to LittleLeague.org/Visit and check back frequently as the event nears for additional information.