Kids Sports News Network

Little League World Series Enjoys 75th Anniversary

For much of the United States, August means football season is getting closer. College and NFL teams are into their preseason training camps and high schools around the country are preparing for their upcoming seasons. But, for thousands of youngsters aged 11 to 18, August is still baseball and softball season.

The Little League Baseball World Series is set to begin on August 14 from South Williamsport, Pa., where the tournament has been played for 56 of its 75 years. The 2014 edition of the Little League World Series will commemorate 75 years for the tournament that started back in 1947.  Japan has won three of the last four world series. The U.S. won in 2009 and 2011, both times a team from California.

What many people may not realize is that the 2014 Little League World Series is actually comprised of nine different tournaments, five in baseball and four more in softball. The five baseball divisions are as follows:

  • Big League Baseball for 15- to 18-year-olds
  • Little League Intermediate Baseball for 11- to 13-year-olds
  • Junior League Baseball for 13- and 14-year-olds
  • Senior League Baseball for 14- to 16-year-olds
  • Little League Baseball for 11- and 12-year-olds

It is the final division, the 11- and 12-year-old division, that most people are familiar with and the one that will begin on August 14 and have many of its tournament games aired on the ESPN family of networks.

There are also four softball divisions:

  • Big League Softball for 14- to 18-year-old girls
  • Senior League Softball for 13- to 16-year-old girls
  • Junior League Softball for 13- and 14-year-old girls
  • Little League Softball for 11- and 12-year-old girls

 

Big League Baseball & Little League Intermediate Crown Champions

The Big League Baseball World Series was the first of the nine different tournaments beginning on July 23. In the championship game on July 30, the U.S.’s Southeast entry, a team from Clearwater, Fla., defeated Puerto Rico, 2-1. It was the second consecutive year that a U.S. entry won the Big League series title.

The Little League Intermediate World Series is the newest of the nine tournaments that make up the Little League World Series. The division, which features players aged 11 through 13, was instituted just last year. This year’s champion, the U.S. West representative, defeated Puerto Rico, 11-4 in the final on August 4. The West team hailed from Nogales, Ariz.

 

Qualifying For The Little League World Series

Each and every year, more than 10,000 teams begin the annual quest to reach the World Series in one of the nine different divisions. Most of those teams are eliminated within the first three weeks of play in various tournaments around the U.S. and the more than 80 other countries that participate in some form of the Little League World Series.

In the Little League World Series (11- and 12-year-old) division, nearly 16,000 games are played to determine a champion. In the U.S. there are local, regional, and sectional tournaments to determine representatives from the various regions of the country. Most states crown a state champion that goes on to regional play with the hopes of qualifying for a trip to Williamsport.

The Pearland Little League All-Stars, for example, are this year’s Texas East champions. They won the Southwest Regional semifinal on August 5 and, should they defeat their Louisiana opponent on August 6 in the Southwest Regional final, they will earn another trip to Williamsport. The 2010 Pearland entry advanced the whole way to the LLWS championship game.

Qualifying for the Little League World Series is open to any league that is a chartered member of Little League International . Leagues, like Pearland, choose all-star teams to represent them. Only eight teams from the U.S. will make it to Williamsport along with eight teams from around the world. Both the U.S. and International divisions play a double-elimination tournament to crown a champion. The winners of each division then meet in a single-elimination final where the winner is crowned the Little League World Series champion.

The Junior League Baseball World Series will begin on August 9 and the Senior League follows beginning on August 10. The Big League and Senior League Softball World Series events both got underway on August 3.  Watch tourneys here.

 

75th-anniversary-rocker-patch-pre-order-6

 

________________________________________________________________________________

Author: Rick Bouch

Rick Bouch is a former college and professional football player and former sports journalist for several publications.  He currently is a freelance sports writer covering national sports news.