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A host team is being added to the annual Junior League World Series, which has been hosted by Taylor since its inception.
The announcement came earlier this week, as the Little League International Tournament noted two new expansion changes in 2018 that will affect the Junior League Baseball and Intermediate (50/70) Baseball Divisions.
The first of two expansions will come at the Junior League Baseball World Series in Taylor, with the addition of a "Host Team" to even out the field with 12 participating teams. With this new expansion, six Little League World Series events in baseball and softball (excluding the Little League Baseball World Series) now has a participating host team within its field.
The JLWS has been hosted by Taylor ever since it started in 1981. The tournament is now made up of 13, 14 and 15 year olds -- which is the level directly after the famous Little League World Series that is held in Williamsport, Pa., each summer. The host team will join the United States side of the bracket, which also includes teams representing the East, West, Central, Southeast and Southwest. The international side of the bracket includes teams representing Asia-Pacific, Australia, Canada, Europe-Africa, Latin America and Mexico or Puerto Rico.
Teams from Taiwan, representing the Asia-Pacific region, have captured the past five titles.
“We are excited to continue to grow the Little League International Tournament and offer more opportunities around the world in our teenage divisions of play,” said Pat Wilson, Senior Vice President of Operations and Program Development. “The International Tournament is the culmination of the many weeks of local league play and provides participants with opportunity to travel, make new friends, and engage in friendly competition-activities few other summer programs can provide. We believe these two changes will continue to grow these opportunities that we can offer to our international players and are excited for the future.”
The second expansion implemented for the 2018 season is a direct entry opportunity for the Australia Region in the Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball Division in Livermore, Calif. Australia’s Little League program is one of the fastest growing in the world, with more than 1,000 Little League teams registered across the country. Starting in 2018, representatives from Australia will now gain direct entry in each of Little League’s four baseball World Series events. Because Australia’s direct entry creates an uneven number of teams in the field, representatives from Puerto Rico and Mexico, who have a comparable number of participation and tournament enrollment numbers, will be provided alternating direct entry into the tournament each year, with the opportunity to compete through the Latin America Region Tournament in years without direct entry.
Founded in 1939, Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.4 million players and one million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and more than 80 other countries.