Little League World Series

Little League World Series
Most recent season or competition:
2016 Little League World Series
Sport Baseball
Founded 1947, 69 years ago
No. of teams 16
Countries International
Most recent
Maine-Endwell, New York
Most titles Taiwan (17)
Official website
South Williamsport
Location in the United States
South Williamsport
Location in Pennsylvania

The Little League Baseball World Series is an annual baseball tournament in the eastern United States for children aged 11 to 13 years old. [1] Originally called the National Little League Tournament, it was later renamed for the World Series in Major League Baseball. The Series was first held 69 years ago in 1947 and is held every August in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.[2] (Although the postal address of the organization is in Williamsport, the Series itself is played at Howard J. Lamade Stadium and Volunteer Stadium at the Little League headquarters complex in South Williamsport.)

Initially, only teams from the US competed in the 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 to include players who turn 13 after April 30 of the same year, rather than after July 31, as had previously been the case. As the Series takes place in August, many of the players will have already turned 13 before the Series starts. Effective November, 2015, a new implementation plan was established, which "grandfathers" players born between May 1 and August 31, 2005 as 12-year-olds for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 seasons, using the current April 30 age determination date for the 2016, 2017, and 2018 seasons. Beginning with 2019, a new determination date of August 31 will be used, which will ban 13 year old players from participating in the Series.

While the Little League Baseball World Series is frequently referred to as just the Little League World Series, it is actually one of twelve tournaments sponsored by Little League International, in twelve different locations. Each of them brings community teams from different Little League International regions around the world together in baseball (five age divisions), girls' softball (four age divisions), and boys' softball (three 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 with different regions.

Qualifying tournaments

A Little League World Series game
at Howard J. Lamade Stadium in 2007
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 has only one city (Fargo) that operates Little League-sponsored competitions; 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 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: Alberta, 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 seventh 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 Armed Forces personnel, international organization members, and oil company workers (such as the team representing the 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]


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.[9]

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 are distributed in a random drawing of all interested parties due to high demand. Some early round games, mostly games with Pennsylvania teams, will use first-come, first-served admission if a big crowd is to be expected.[10] 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
1947 Pennsylvania
Williamsport, Pennsylvania
16–7 Pennsylvania
Lock Haven, Pennsylvania
1948 Pennsylvania
Lock Haven, Pennsylvania
6–5 Florida
St. Petersburg, Florida
1949 New Jersey
Hammonton, New Jersey
5–0 Florida
Pensacola, Florida
1950 Texas
Houston, Texas
2–1 Connecticut
Bridgeport, Connecticut
1951 Connecticut
Stamford, Connecticut
3–0 Texas
Austin, Texas
1952 Connecticut
Norwalk, Connecticut
4–3 Pennsylvania
Monongahela, Pennsylvania
1953 Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama
1–0 New York (state)
Schenectady, New York
1954 New York (state)
Schenectady, New York
7–5 California
Colton, California
1955 Pennsylvania
Morrisville, Pennsylvania
4–3 New Jersey
Merchantville, New Jersey
1956 New Mexico
Roswell, New Mexico
3–1 New Jersey
Merchantville, New Jersey
1957 Mexico
Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico
4–0 California
La Mesa, California
1958 Mexico
Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico
10–1 Illinois
Kankakee, Illinois
1959 Michigan
Hamtramck, Michigan
12–0 California
Auburn, California
1960 Pennsylvania
Levittown, Pennsylvania
5–0 Texas
Ft. Worth, Texas
1961 California
El Cajon, California
4–2 Texas
El Campo, Texas
1962 California
San Jose, California
3–0 Illinois
Kankakee, Illinois
1963 California
Granada Hills, California
2–1 Connecticut
Stratford, Connecticut
1964 New York (state)
Staten Island, New York
4–0 Mexico
Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico
1965 Connecticut
Windsor Locks, Connecticut
3–1 Canada
Stoney Creek, Ontario
1966 Texas
Houston, Texas
8–2 New Jersey
West New York, New Jersey
1967 Japan
West Tokyo, Japan
4–1 Illinois
1968 Japan
Wakayama, Osaka, Japan
1–0 Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
1969 Taiwan
Taichung, Taiwan
5–0 California
Santa Clara, California
1970 New Jersey
Wayne, New Jersey
2–0 California
Campbell, California
1971 Taiwan
Tainan, Taiwan
12–3 (F/9) Indiana
Gary, Indiana
1972 Taiwan
Taipei, Taiwan
6–0 Indiana
Hammond, Indiana
1973 Taiwan
Tainan, Taiwan
12–0 Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
1974 Taiwan
Kaohsiung, Taiwan
12–1 California
Red Bluff, California
1975* New Jersey
Lakewood, New Jersey
4–3 Florida
Tampa, Florida
1976 Japan
Chofu, Tokyo, Japan
10–3 California
Campbell, California
1977 Taiwan
Kaohsiung, Taiwan
7–2 California
El Cajon, California
1978 Taiwan
Pingtung, Taiwan
11–1 California
Danville, California
1979 Taiwan
Chiayi County, Taiwan
Campbell, California
1980 Taiwan
Hua-Lien, Taiwan
4–3 Florida
Tampa, Florida
1981 Taiwan
Taichung, Taiwan
4–2 Florida
Tampa, Florida
1982 Washington (state)
Kirkland, Washington
6–0 Taiwan
Chiayi, Taiwan
1983 Georgia (U.S. state)
Marietta, Georgia
3–1 Dominican Republic
Barahona, Dominican Republic
1984 South Korea
Seoul, South Korea
6–2 Florida
Altamonte Springs, Florida
1985 South Korea
Seoul, South Korea
7–1 Mexico/California
Mexicali, BC/Calexico, CA
1986 Taiwan
Tainan, Taiwan
12–0 Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
1987 Taiwan
Hua-Lien, Taiwan
21–1 California
Irvine, California
1988 Taiwan
Taichung, Taiwan
10–0 Hawaii
Pearl City, Hawaii
1989 Connecticut
Trumbull, Connecticut
5–2 Taiwan
Kaohsiung, Taiwan
1990 Taiwan
Tainan County, Taiwan
9–0 Pennsylvania
Shippensburg, Pennsylvania
1991 Taiwan
Taichung, Taiwan
11–0 California
San Ramon Valley, California
1992 California
Long Beach, California
6–0 Philippines
Zamboanga City, Philippines
1993 California
Long Beach, California
3–2 Panama
David, Chiriquí, Panama
1994 Venezuela
Maracaibo, Venezuela
4–3 California
Northridge, California
1995 Taiwan
Tainan, Taiwan
17–3 (F/5) Texas
Spring, Texas
1996 Taiwan
Kaohsiung, Taiwan
13–3 (F/5) Rhode Island
Cranston, Rhode Island
1997 Mexico
Guadalupe, Nuevo León, Mexico
5–4 California
South Mission Viejo, California
1998 New Jersey
Toms River, New Jersey
12–9 Japan
Kashima, Japan
1999 Japan
Hirakata, Osaka, Japan
5–0 Alabama
Phenix City, Alabama
2000 Venezuela
Maracaibo, Venezuela
3–2 Texas
Bellaire, Texas
2001 Japan
Tokyo Kitasuna, Tokyo, Japan
2–1 Florida
Apopka, Florida
2002 Kentucky
Pleasure Ridge Park, Kentucky
1–0 Japan
Sendai, Japan
2003 Japan
Musashi-Fuchu, Tokyo, Japan
10–1 Florida
East Boynton Beach, Florida
2004 Curaçao
Willemstad, Curaçao
5–2 California
Thousand Oaks, California
2005 Hawaii
Ewa Beach, Hawaii
7–6 (F/7) Curaçao
Willemstad, Curaçao
2006 Georgia (U.S. state)
Columbus, Georgia
2–1 Japan
Kawaguchi City, Japan
2007 Georgia (U.S. state)
Warner Robins, Georgia
3–2 (F/8) Japan
Tokyo, Japan
2008 Hawaii
Waipahu, Hawaii
12–3 Mexico
Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico
2009 California
Chula Vista, California
6–3 Taiwan
Taoyuan County, Taiwan
2010 Japan
Edogawa Minami, Tokyo, Japan
4–1 Hawaii
Waipahu, Hawaii
2011 California
Huntington Beach, California
2–1 Japan
Hamamatsu City, Japan
2012 Japan
Tokyo-Kitasuna, Tokyo, Japan
12–2 (F/5) Tennessee
Goodlettsville, Tennessee
2013 Japan
Musashi-Fuchu, Tokyo, Japan
6–4 California
Chula Vista, California
2014 South Korea
Seoul, South Korea
8–4 Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
2015 Japan
Tokyo-Kitasuna, Tokyo, Japan
18–11 Pennsylvania
Lewisberry, Pennsylvania
2016 New York (state)
Maine-Endwell, New York
2–1 South Korea
Seoul, South Korea

Championship tally

Championships won by country/state

Rank Team Championships Years
1 Taiwan Taiwan 17 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1995, 1996
2 Japan 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 Mexico 3 1957, 1958, 1997
Georgia (U.S. state) Georgia 1983, 2006, 2007
South Korea South Korea 1984, 1985, 2014
 New York 1954, 1964, 2016
10  Texas 2 1950, 1966
Venezuela Venezuela 1994, 2000
 Hawaii 2005, 2008
13  Alabama 1 1953
 New Mexico 1956
 Michigan 1959
Washington (state) Washington 1982
 Kentucky 2002
 Curaçao 2004

Championship notes

Famous participants in the Little League World Series

Gavin Cecchini - MLB Player NY Mets ( 2006 Little League World Series ) ( Lake Charles , Louisiana

Media coverage

The first broadcast of the Little League World Series on television was on ABC Sports (now ESPN on ABC) in 1963. For years, only the championship game was televised. Since the late 1980s, when the tournament was reorganized, both the U.S. and international championships, the "semifinals", have been shown. As the years passed, more telecasts were added 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.[17] 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.)[18] 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.[19]

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. The increased level of participation, competition, and publicity of the Little League World Series in recent years has established a trend in the opposite direction of most other preteen sports.

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 eleven divisions of Little League Baseball has its own World Series format (including three in boys' softball).

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[20] Little League World Series (softball)
Junior League Softball Kirkland, Washington 1999 12–14 years old[20] Junior League World Series (softball)
Senior League Softball Sussex County, Delaware 1976 13–16 years old[20] Senior League World Series (softball)
Big League Softball Sussex County, Delaware 1982 14–18 years old[20] Big League World Series (softball)

See also


  1. "Little League World Series Format". 2013-08-12. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
  2. World Series History
  3. Little League Baseball State Champions (1950–2007). Little League International. Retrieved 2009-11-24.
  4. Archived April 19, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  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. Archived from the original on September 23, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
  9. Wuff, Steve (August 18, 2016). "As Williamsport opened its arms to Mexico's team, its players embraced the legacy of their predecessors from Monterrey". Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  10. Archived May 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. "Little League authorities ban imports from playoffs". Free Lance-Star. (Fredericksburg, Virginia). Associated Press. November 12, 1974. p. 10.
  12. "Little League takes it back: foreigners can play". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. December 31, 1975. p. 2B.
  13. See: Mexico in the Little League World Series.
  14. Taiwan, once dominant, to return to Little League. Associated Press Newswires, 25 April 2003, The Associated Press.
  15. "Japan crushes US, wins 2015 Little League World Series". Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  16. "From Little League to the major leagues". From Little League to the major leagues. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  17.,1,6528696.column?page=2&coll=la-sports-extras. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. Archived October 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. Communications Division (June 15, 2011). "ESPN 3D Adds Little League World Series Games to its Broadcast Schedule". Little League. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
  20. 1 2 3 4 "Softball - Divisions of Play". Retrieved 31 August 2016.
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