Little League World Series

January 21, 2011

A baseball enthusiast, John Hallal currently serves as a Coach with the Andover Little League, in Massachusetts. Little League teams participate in competitions across the United States with the hope of reaching the championship tournament, called the Little League World Series. Before the start of the tournament in August, Little Leagues across the globe form All-Star teams to represent the league in a district tournament. Winning teams advance through divisional and regional rounds until each state crowns a champion. Due to their size and geographical diversity, large states, such as California and Texas, send two teams to the next qualifying round. State champions then compete in additional regional tournaments to determine which eight teams will compete in the Little League World Series, which is held in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

The tournament itself contains 16 participants: 8 teams from the United States and 8 from other countries around the world. The competitors are split into the United States Bracket and the International Bracket. Both brackets contain two groups of four teams, which compete in a round robin format to determine a group winner and a runner-up. The first-place team from one pool plays the second-place finisher from the other pool in a bracket semi-final that precedes either the United States or International Final. The winners of these semi-final matches play each other to determine the best in each bracket, and then the International champion and the United States champion play in the Little League World Series Championship Game.

The all-time series between American and international teams is currently square at 32 victories apiece. California leads all states with six championships, followed closely by Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, which each have four. The Republic of China, also known as Taiwan, has experienced the most success out of all the international teams, capturing 17 total championships. A number of famous athletes have participated in the Little League World Series, including NFL quarterback Matt Cassell, MLB star Gary Sheffield, and 2004 MLB National League Rookie of the Year Jason Bay.

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