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Little League World Series

Little League World Series
Most recent season or competition:
2015 Little League World Series
Sport Baseball
Founded 1947
No. of teams 16
Countries International
Most recent champion(s) Tokyo, Japan
Most titles Taiwan (17)
Official website
A Little League World Series game at Howard J. Lamade Stadium in South Williamsport.

The Williamsport, but the stadium complex is in South Williamsport.)

Initially, only teams from the US competed in the "World Series" but it has since become a worldwide tournament. The tournament has gained popular renown, especially in the United States, where games from the Series and even from regional tournaments are broadcast on ESPN. In 2006, the age limit was changed such that players could turn 13 after May 1, not August 1, as had previously been the case. As the series takes place in August, many of the players have already turned 13 before the World Series. Starting in 2018, only the players who will be turning 11 & 12 will be playing in the World Series. This change is currently being phased in starting with the players who were born on or after January 1, 2006.

While the Little League Baseball World Series is frequently referred to as just the Little League World Series, it is actually one of nine tournaments sponsored by Little League International. Each of them brings baseball or softball all-star teams from around the world together in one of four age divisions. The tournament structure described here is that used for the Little League Baseball World Series. The structure used for the other World Series is similar, but sometimes with different regions.


  • Qualifying tournaments 1
  • Venues 2
  • Notable events 3
  • Little League World Series champions 4
  • Championship tally 5
    • Championships won by country/state/county 5.1
  • Championship notes 6
  • Famous participants in the Little League World Series 7
  • Media coverage 8
  • Other divisions in Little League Baseball 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12

Qualifying tournaments

Welcome sign in the Little League World Series Complex

In the summer months leading up to the Little League World Series, held each year in August, Little Leagues around the world select an All-Star team made up of players from its league. It is these All-Star teams that compete in district, sectional and/or divisional, and regional tournaments, hoping to advance to Williamsport for the Little League World Series. How many games a team has to play varies from region to region. In the United States, the tournaments at the lowest (district) level lack nationwide standardization. Some use pool play or double elimination, while others use single elimination.

In the United States, the fate of district winners varies widely from state to state. In some larger states such as Pennsylvania, New York, and California, the district winners advance to one of many sectional tournaments. The winners of each sectional tournament then advance to a state or divisional tournament, the latter only being held in Texas and California and are similar to the state tournaments held in less densely populated states. Most smaller states lack competition at the sectional level and go straight from district to state tournaments. A handful of states are composed of only one district, and the district champion is the automatic state champion.

With 4 exceptions, every state as well as the District of Columbia crowns a state champion,[3] and sends that team to represent it to one of eight regional tournaments. The exceptions involve California, Texas, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Because of their large geographic and population sizes, California and Texas send two representatives to their regional tournament; Northern California and Southern California in the West region tournament and Texas East and Texas West (whose areas encompass more than the geographical areas of East Texas and West Texas, splitting roughly along the I-35/I-37 corridor) compete in the Southwest region tournament. Conversely, North Dakota does not have any towns who play through Little League; the Dakotas have one district spanning the two states, and its winner becomes the joint champion and advances to the Midwest region tournament.

The state champions (as well as the Northern California, Southern California, Texas East, Texas West, and Dakotas champions) compete in one of eight different regional tournaments. Each regional tournament winner then advances to the Little League World Series. See [6] for a comprehensive breakdown of current and historical US regional tournament locations, participants and results.

Other countries and regions pick their own way of crowning a champion. Little League Canada holds tournaments at the provincial and regional level to field five champions at the national tournament: Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, the Atlantic Provinces, and the Prairie Provinces. The host site of the national tournament varies from year to year, and the host team gets an automatic berth as the sixth team. The tournament is played as a round robin and uses the page playoff format. The winner of the national tournament earns the right to represent Canada at the Little League World Series.

A Little League World Series Game at Howard J. Lamade Stadium in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, USA.

The Little League World Series consists of 16 teams—8 from the United States, and 8 from other countries. Prior to 2001 there were eight teams in the LLWS: four U.S. teams (Central, South, East, and West) and four international (Canada, Latin America, Europe, and the Far East). It should be noted that in 1975 there were only four teams in the LLWS, all from the United States. The international teams returned in 1976.

From 2001 to 2009, the 16 teams were divided into two brackets, the United States Bracket and the International Bracket. Each team was then randomly assigned to one of two "pools" in their respective bracket. In the opening days of the tournament, the teams competed round-robin within their own pool. The top two teams in each pool advanced to the semifinal of their bracket, where the first place team from one pool competed against the second place team from the other. The respective winners advanced to play in either the United States or International Final. The U.S. champion and the International champion advanced to compete in the Little League World Series Championship Game.

On April 14, 2010, Little League announced that starting in 2010, round robin play would be replaced by a double-elimination bracket in each pool. The winners of each pool would advance to single elimination US and International Championship games, and the winners of those games would advance to the World Championship game. Every team would play a minimum of three games: the four teams that lost their first two games would cross over and play U.S. vs. International games.[4]

On June 16, 2011, it was announced that the double-elimination format had been modified. The pools were eliminated in favor of placing the eight U.S. teams in one bracket, and the eight International teams in another bracket. The tournament remains double-elimination until the U.S. and International Championship games, where it becomes single-elimination. (That is, if the team that advances through the winner's bracket loses the championship game they are eliminated and the teams do not play a rubber game.) Each team still plays a minimum of three games, playing a "crossover" (U.S. vs. International) consolation game if eliminated after their second game.[5][6]

The eight regional tournament winners which compete in the United States Bracket of the Little League World Series, as well as the states those regional champions could possibly hail from are as follows:

The eight divisions which compete in the International Bracket are as follows:

The eight divisions which compete in the United States bracket represent 96% of the players in Little League with over 2.2 million players while the eight divisions in the International bracket represent 4% of the Little League or less than 130 thousand players.

Prior to 2008, instead of two separate geographic regions, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa held two coterminous regions:[7]

The Transatlantic and EMEA regions were geographically identical. Leagues from the Transatlantic region generally consisted of children and other dependents of American expatriates, typically Saudi Aramco Residential Camp in Dhahran, which advanced to the World Series 19 times through 2007, including all the tournaments from 2001 through 2007). The leagues within the "EMEA" region consisted of players native to the league's own country. Representative teams for the Trans-Atlantic region had to have at least 51% nationals of Canada, the U.S. or Japan, while teams for the EMEA region could have no more than three players from those three countries.

Teams in the reorganized Europe and MEA regions did not have nationality restrictions, as evidenced by the 2009 series. In that year, both regions were won by teams made up primarily of children of American expatriates. Europe was represented by a team from Ramstein Air Base, a United States Air Force base in Germany, while MEA was represented for the second time in its two-year existence by the team from the Saudi Aramco camp.

On August 29, 2012, Little League announced a significant realignment of the international regions, which took effect in 2013:[8]

  • Australia left the former Asia-Pacific Region and received an automatic berth in the LLWS. Australia has now become the fourth-largest country, and the largest outside North America, in Little League participation.
  • The former MEA (Middle East–Africa) Region was disbanded.
  • Middle Eastern countries, except for Israel and Turkey (see below), were placed in the former Asia-Pacific Region, which was renamed the Asia-Pacific and Middle East Region.
  • African countries were placed in the former Europe Region, which was renamed the Europe and Africa Region. Israel and Turkey remained in the renamed Europe and Africa region; they had been in the former Europe Region as members of the European zone of the International Baseball Federation.


Two venues host World Series games: Howard J. Lamade Stadium and Little League Volunteer Stadium. Lamade Stadium has hosted games since 1959, while Little League Volunteer Stadium opened in 2001 when the field expanded to 16 teams. Prior to 1959 the Little League World Series was held at Original Little League on West Fourth Street in Williamsport.

Both fields have symmetrical fences, with a distance of 68.6 m (225 feet) from home plate to each of the outfield positions. That distance had been 62.5 m (205 feet) before 2006.

Admission to all LLWS games is free for all spectators. However, stadium seats for the championship game distributed in a random drawing of all interested parties due to high demand. Some games early round games, mostly games with Pennsylvania teams, will use a first-come, first-served way for admission if a big crowd is to be expected.[9] Lamade Stadium has a berm beyond the fences that has allowed the facility to hold up to 45,000 spectators.

Notable events

Little League World Series champions

Year Winner Score Runner-Up
Williamsport, PA
Lock Haven, PA
Lock Haven, PA
St. Petersburg, FL
Hammonton, NJ
Pensacola, FL
Houston, TX
Bridgeport, CT
Stamford, CT
Austin, TX
Norwalk, CT
Monongahela, PA
Birmingham, AL
Schenectady, NY
Schenectady, NY
Colton, CA
Morrisville, PA
Merchantville, NJ
Roswell, NM
Merchantville, NJ
Monterrey, NL, Mex.
La Mesa, CA
Monterrey, NL, Mex.
Kankakee, IL
Hamtramck, MI
Auburn, CA
Levittown, PA
Ft. Worth, TX
El Cajon, CA
El Campo, TX
San Jose, CA
Kankakee, IL
Granada Hills, CA
Stratford, CT
Staten Island, NY
Monterrey, NL, Mex.
Windsor Locks, CT
Stoney Creek, Ontario
Houston, TX
W. New York, NJ
West Tokyo, Japan
Chicago, IL
Wakayama, Osaka, Japan
Richmond, VA
Taichung, Taiwan
Santa Clara, CA
Wayne, NJ
Campbell, CA
Tainan, Taiwan
12–3 (F/9)
Gary, IN
Taipei, Taiwan
Hammond, IN
Tainan, Taiwan
Tucson, AZ
Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Red Bluff, CA
Lakewood, NJ
Tampa, FL
Chofu, Tokyo, Japan
Campbell, CA
Kaohsiung, Taiwan
El Cajon, CA
Pingtung, Taiwan
Danville, CA
Chiayi County, Taiwan

Campbell, CA
Hua-Lien, Taiwan
Tampa, FL
Taichung, Taiwan
Tampa, FL
Kirkland, WA
Chiayi, Taiwan
Marietta, GA
Barahona, Dom. Rep.
Seoul, South Korea
Altamonte Springs, FL
Seoul, South Korea
Calexico, CA
Tainan, Taiwan
Tucson, AZ
Hua-Lien, Taiwan
Irvine, CA
Taichung, Taiwan
Pearl City, HI
Trumbull, CT
Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Tainan County, Taiwan
Shippensburg, PA
Taichung, Taiwan
San Ramon Valley, CA
Long Beach, CA
Zamboanga City, Phil.
Long Beach, CA
David, Chiriquí, Pan.
Maracaibo, Venezuela
Northridge, CA
Tainan, Taiwan
17–3 (F/5)
Spring, TX
Kaohsiung, Taiwan
13–3 (F/5)
Cranston, RI
Guadalupe, NL, Mex.
South Mission Viejo, CA
Toms River, NJ
Kashima, Japan
Hirakata, Osaka, Japan
Phenix City, AL
Maracaibo, Venezuela
Bellaire, TX
Tokyo Kitasuna, Tokyo, Japan
Apopka, FL
Valley Station, KY
Sendai, Japan
Musashi-Fuchu, Tokyo, Japan
East Boynton Beach, FL
Willemstad, Curaçao
Thousand Oaks, CA
Ewa Beach, HI
7–6 (F/7)
Willemstad, Curaçao
Kawaguchi City, Japan
3–2 (F/8)
Tokyo, Japan
Waipahu, HI
Matamoros, TM, Mexico
Chula Vista, CA
Taoyuan County, Taiwan
Edogawa Minami, Tokyo, Japan
Waipahu, HI
Huntington Beach, CA
Hamamatsu City, Japan
Tokyo Kitasuna, Tokyo, Japan
12–2 (F/5)
Goodlettsville, Tennessee
Musashi Fuchu, Tokyo, Japan
Chula Vista, CA
Seoul, South Korea
Chicago, Illinois
Tokyo, Japan
Lewisberry, Pennsylvania
  • Forfeits due to ineligible players. Zamboanga City was disqualified and stripped of its 1992 championship. Chicago was stripped of its 2014 US Championship title, which was given to US runner-up Las Vegas.

Championship tally

Championships won by country/state/county

Rank Team Championships Years
1 Taiwan 17 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1995, 1996
2 Japan 10 1967, 1968, 1976, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015
3 California 7 1961, 1962, 1963, 1992, 1993, 2009, 2011
4 Pennsylvania 4 1947, 1948, 1955, 1960
Connecticut 1951, 1952, 1965, 1989
New Jersey 1949, 1970, 1975, 1998
7 Mexico 3 1957, 1958, 1997
Georgia 1983, 2006, 2007
South Korea 1984, 1985, 2014
10 New York 2 1954, 1964
Texas 1950, 1966
Venezuela 1994, 2000
Hawaii 2005, 2008
14 Alabama 1 1953
New Mexico 1956
Michigan 1959
Washington 1982
Kentucky 2002
Curaçao 2004
  • In 1976 the tournament was split into two brackets, one for International teams and one for teams from the United States.

Championship notes

  • In 1975, Little League Baseball banned all non-US teams from the World Series. After considerable criticism, the ban was rescinded the following year.
  • In 1985, Mexicali, Mexico, represented the West Region of the United States in the Little League World Series. Because of its proximity to the El Centro/Calexico area in Southern California, Mexicali competed in and represented California's District 22 in the Southern California division from 1957–1985, representing the bordering city of Calexico, California.[10] David Cardenas Cortes ( LLWS 1985 US champions ) Played in MLB for Cleveland, Colorado and Atlanta.
  • In 1992, Long Beach was declared a 6–0 winner after the international tournament committee determined that Zamboanga City had used ineligible players that were either not from within its city limits, over age, or both. The championship game was originally won by Zamboanga City 15-4.
  • From 1997 to 2002, no teams from Taiwan participated in the tournament. In 1997, the Taiwan Baseball Association decided its leagues would no longer charter with Little League, claiming inability to comply with rules enacted in 1992 regarding the maximum size of player pools and number of participating teams in leagues based at schools, and residency requirements, which Little League Baseball had stated it would enforce more strictly, especially after the 1992 incident. From the introduction of Far East teams in 1967 until after 1996, Taiwan had won 17 of a possible 30 championships and had been runner-up twice.[11]
  • In 2014, Chicago defeated Las Vegas in the US Championship game 7-5 and played Seoul, South Korea for the Little League Championship as US champion - Seoul won the game 8-4. On February 11, 2015, Chicago was stripped of its US Little League Championship for fielding ineligible players; the US title was retroactively awarded to Las Vegas.
  • In recent years, teams from Japan and the US West region have dominated the tournament. Since 2008, Japan has won 5 international titles, been runnerup twice, and lost in the semifinals once. Of the five times it has advanced to the overall final during that period, it has won 4. Since 2008, the team representing the US West region has been to the US finals 7 times, winning 6, and going 3-3 in the overall final. Since 2008, Japan and US West have met 3 times in the finals: Japan won in 2010 and 2013, and US West won in 2011.
  • In 2015, Team USA actually jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first inning, but it was all downhill from there. Japan battled back and took a 13-11 lead through the third inning. After neither team scored in the fourth or fifth, Japan tacked on five more and made this thing elementary in the top of the sixth. Japan pounded out 22 hits compared to Pennsylvania's eight and outscored Pennsylvania 16-1 in the final five innings. Masafuji Nishijima went 4 for 4 with a double, homer and six RBI to lead Japan while Shingo Tomita clubbed two homers and scored four times. Kengo Tomita added a triple and homer while Yugo Aoki went 3 for 5 with a homer and three RBI. The USA team got a grand slam from Dylan Rodenhaber and a three-run homer from Jaden Henline in the first inning. Braden Kolmansberger went 2 for 4 with a double and three runs scored. However, Japan still managed to stay on top for a historical comeback.[12]

Famous participants in the Little League World Series

Media coverage

The first broadcast of the Little League World Series on ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2. In 2006, 28 of the 36 games were televised on the three networks.

The 2006 world championship game was to be the last telecast on ABC Sports before ESPN's complete takeover of the sports division and name change. However, the final was postponed one day because of rain and was shown by ESPN2.

In January 2007, it was announced that ESPN, ESPN2, and ABC had extended their contract with the Little League organization through 2014.[14] That year, every game of the LLWS was scheduled to be televised for the first time, with all but one game live on ESPN, ESPN2, or ABC. (The other game was to be available online at ESPN360, then shown on ESPN2 the next day.)[15] In addition, a number of games were to be shown in high-definition on one of ESPN's two dedicated HD channels, or on ABC HD. The championship games in all other divisions, as well as the semifinals and finals of the Little League Softball World Series, was scheduled for either ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.

In June 2011, it was announced that ESPN would add 17 games to its schedule on ESPN 3D.[16]

Coverage of the qualifying games has increased in the US recently: as of 2014, all regional group games (with the exception of the Southwest and New England regions) are streamed online via the ESPN3 platform, with the semifinals joining the finals on an ESPN network. The aforementioned Southwest and New England regional games are aired in full on the Longhorn Network (itself owned by ESPN) and NESN, respectively.

Most LLWS games are broadcast live on local radio station WRAK 1400AM, which is owned by Clear Channel. The radio broadcasts are also streamed online at the LLWS page at

Other divisions in Little League Baseball

Each of the other eight divisions of Little League Baseball has its own World Series format.

Division Location First Held Age of players Series
Little League Baseball South Williamsport, Pennsylvania 1947 11–12 years old Little League World Series
Little League Intermediate Division Livermore, California 2013 11–13 years old Intermediate Little League World Series
Junior League Baseball Taylor, Michigan 1981 13–14 years old Junior League World Series
Senior League Baseball Bangor, Maine 1961 14–16 years old Senior League World Series
Big League Baseball Easley, South Carolina 1968 16–18 years old Big League World Series
Little League Softball Portland, Oregon 1974 11–12 years old[17] Little League World Series (softball)
Junior League Softball Kirkland, Washington 1999 12–14 years old[17] Junior League World Series (softball)
Senior League Softball Sussex County, Delaware 1976 13–16 years old[17] Senior League World Series (softball)
Big League Softball Sussex County, Delaware 1982 14–18 years old[17] Big League World Series (softball)

See also


  1. ^ "Little League World Series Format".  
  2. ^ World Series History
  3. ^ Little League Baseball State Champions (1950–2007). Little League International. Retrieved 2009-11-24.
  4. ^ [7]
  5. ^ Communications Division (June 16, 2011). "2011 Little League Baseball World Series Schedule Announced". Little League. Retrieved June 27, 2011. 
  6. ^ "2012 Little League Baseball World Series Schedule". Little League. Retrieved 25 August 2012. 
  7. ^ Little League EMEA Region. Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  8. ^ "Regions Realigned for 2013: Australia to Play in Little League Baseball World Series" (Press release). Little League Baseball. August 29, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2012. 
  9. ^ [8]
  10. ^ See: Mexico in the Little League World Series.
  11. ^ Taiwan, once dominant, to return to Little League. Associated Press Newswires, 25 April 2003, The Associated Press.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "From Little League to the major leagues". From Little League to the major leagues. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  14. ^,1,6528696.column?page=2&coll=la-sports-extras. 
  15. ^ [9]
  16. ^ Communications Division (June 15, 2011). "ESPN 3D Adds Little League World Series Games to its Broadcast Schedule". Little League. Retrieved June 28, 2011. 
  17. ^ a b c d [10]

External links

  • Little League official website
  • Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum
  • The Little League Baseball International Tournament (comprehensive information on district, sectional, state/provincial/country, and regional tournaments). Unpage Publications
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