It’s that time of year again, when the Pyle Center goes from a local venue for softball to an international one, as the Little League Softball World Series is set to make its way back to Delaware for the 11th consecutive year.
“I think it’s good for the community, and you can see it in the crowds — they keep coming back year after year,” said longtime Lower Sussex Little League president and current Vice President Bruce Layton. “It’s a good community function that brings everybody together.”
For the second year in a row, Roxana will host both the Senior League and Big League World Series, after hosting just the Senior League series for the first nine years. The larger venue calls for more lights and more coverage from ESPN, necessitating adding lights to Bruce Layton Field for television broadcasts.
“The only thing different is we got more games on ESPN,” explained Layton after noting that this year should feature six televised games — four on Friday, Aug. 8, and two on Saturday, Aug. 9.
Locally, Nanticoke Little League has already earned a bid to the series by winning the Delaware District III tournament for Senior League play, defeating Woodbridge Little League. In local Big League play, Millsboro and Laurel were still battling this week in their 12-game series. Notably, Millsboro won the Big League World Series last season.
The event is set to begin on Sunday, Aug. 3, and span to Saturday, Aug. 8, but Layton said that volunteers are still needed.
“We could use volunteers everywhere — concessions, fields, whatever they want to help [with],” he said, noting that they particularly need help on Aug. 3, for the opening ceremonies. “That’s a big day, because that’s opening ceremonies — everybody’s here.”
Anyone interested in volunteering should call Bruce Layton at (302) 841-7961.
Layton estimated that the event will bring in more than 300 players and coaches from across not only the United States but the world, as well. He also went on to note that the added exposure for Delaware is helpful for the local economy.
“Think about the teams that come even from the United States that have never seen Bethany Beach and might come back and vacation here,” he said. “It’s good for the economy.”
For more information on the Senior League and Big League World Series, visit www.seniorsoftballws.org or bigleaguesoftballws.org.