The Executive Committee of the Little League International Board of Directors this week approved relocating the Big League Softball World Series tournament to Sussex County.
Currently, the Lower Sussex Little League Complex in Roxana is host to the Senior League Softball World Series. Beginning with the 2013 season, the Senior League Softball and Big League Softball World Series tournaments will share the facility and be played simultaneously, during the week of Aug. 4-10.
“The move to Delaware is a direct result of stellar leadership displayed by Senior League Softball World Series Director Martin Donovan and his tournament staff,” Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive of Little League Baseball and Softball, said.
“For the past 10 years, Lower Sussex has shown to be a wonderful host for the Senior League tournament. To move a second World Series to Sussex County made the best sense for our organization and the Big League Softball World Series. We are comfortable and confident that the local tournament committee will transition well into operating concurrent tournaments.”
Vanderberg Park in Kalamazoo, Mich., served as host to the Big League Softball World Series (BLSWS) for 19 seasons. The 2012 BLSWS Champion was Philippines District 1 from Manila, which became the first team from outside of the United States to win that championship.
“Hosting two World Series at the same time means we are doubling up on everything,” Donovan said. “Having more games means starting play earlier in the day, with more volunteers handling game duties at more of fields. Running the tournament is easy — it’s the coordination that is the challenge. This is a great honor for us, and we look forward to providing the Big League players with a great experience.
“The teams will be housed in a facility in Georgetown that is about 30 minutes from the game site,” Donovan said. “The housing complex can accommodate up to 20 teams, which is the number we are expecting. The housing, dining and recreation amenities will all be available at the Georgetown location, and we will bus teams to the fields.”
Members of Little League International’s relocation committee visited the Lower Sussex Little League Complex in November and provided a report to the Executive Committee of the Little League International Board of Directors as part of the decision-making process.
“When the idea of hosting both World Series was first proposed, people thought I was crazy,” Donovan said. “But, after considering what it would take and what it would mean to our area, it was an easy decision.”
In 2012, a total of 6,375 players participated in Senior League Softball on 425 teams; while 885 players on 59 teams took part in Big League Softball. Each World Series will follow a pool play format, with 10 teams vying for the Senior Softball World Series Championship and 10 teams playing for the Big League Softball title.