WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (NEXSTAR) — The Little League World Series has struck out. The summer tournament has been canceled for the first time ever due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is a heartbreaking decision for everyone at Little League International, but more so for those millions of Little Leaguers who have dreamt of one day playing in one of our seven World Series events,” Little League President and CEO Stephen Keener said in a statement:
After exhausting all possible options, we came to the conclusion that because of the significant public health uncertainty that will still exist several months from now, and with direction from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, as well as senior public health officials and government leaders from locations where our other six World Series are held, as well as their qualifying regional tournaments, it will not be possible to proceed with our tournaments as we’ve hosted them for nearly 75 years.
The cancellation includes the 82 regional qualifying tournaments and their respective seven World Series events:
- Little League Baseball – South Williamsport, Pa.
- Little League Softball® – Greenville, N.C.
- Intermediate (50/70) Baseball – Livermore, Calif.
- Junior League Baseball – Taylor, Mich.
- Junior League Softball – Kirkland, Wash.
- Senior League Baseball – Easley, S.C.
- Senior League Softball –Sussex County, Del.
The 2020 MLB Little League Classic, originally scheduled for August 23 between the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles, was also canceled and will return to Williamsport for the 2021 MLB Little League Classic next August.
The statement also urged volunteers to confirm with their local and state health officials that it is safe to resume Little League activity after May 11.
“These playing opportunities could include not only regular-season activities, but opportunities for local district, and, perhaps, state all-star tournament play to provide players,” Keener said. “Especially those moving up to a new age division in 2021, a tournament experience, if possible and safe.”