The fields at the Pyle Center are ready for action as softball players from around the world will compete next week.The fields have been lined, the extra lights have been brought in, and the peanuts and Cracker Jacks have been stocked for the 2014 Big League and Senior League World Series at the Pyle Center in Roxana, starting on Sunday, Aug. 3.
This Sunday will mark the start of the 11th Senior League World Series and second Big League World Series at the Pyle Center, but this year’s venue promises even more national and international attention than in the past, with even more televised games to be broadcast on ESPN. Instead of just broadcasting the finals, the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” will also air four semi-final games this year, as well.
“It helps the World Series community more so than it helps us, I think,” said Lower Sussex Little League President Tracy Littleton of how the added exposure can help fund the host LLWS. “It will help the World Series in general, because it gives it more publicity, more incentive to do a sponsorship.”
This year’s host Delaware District III Senior League representative will be the Nanticoke team, from Seaford, which is making its first World Series appearance since 2006, when they made it all the way to the championship game before falling to USA East.
Laurel earned the District III host bid in Big League play last Friday night, when they took down reigning World Series champion Millsboro 3-1 in the 13th game of what was supposed to be a 12-game series.
This year’s Laurel squad will be led by First-Team All-State Laurel High School pitcher Reagan Green when they begin World Series play on Sunday night against USA East.
For the eighth year in a row, ASOFEM Little League from Puerto Rico will represent Latin America in Senior League play, after a two -game sweep of Soraida Juliana Little League at regionals held in Guanica, Puerto Rico. The team has won two Senior League World Series titles since the venue moved to Roxana in 2004, winning it all in both 2008 and 2012.
While last year’s Big League World Series champion won’t be back to defend its title, last year’s Senior League World Series champion will be, as the Indiana District 11 All-Star team from South Bend makes their return to Roxana. The team will represent USA Central after a 2-0 win against Ohio earned them their shot at another championship.
ESPN has brought in extra lighting for this year’s added broadcasts from Bruce Layton Field and will air semi-final games on both ESPN-U and ESPN-3, with the championships on ESPN and ESPN-2.
For Senior League play, the semi-final games will air on Friday, Aug. 9, at 10 a.m. on ESPN-3 and at 1 p.m. on ESPN-U. The Senior League championship game will air on ESPN at noon on Saturday, Aug. 10.
The Big League semi-finals will air on ESPN-U at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 9, and the championship will air on ESPN-2 at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10.
“It’s been an honor for us to host,” said Littleton. “It’s great for the community itself, for Lower Sussex Little League, and neat to see our complex on ESPN.”
However, even with 10 years of World Series experience, Littleton said that they still need help from the community in order to continue their proven track record of success, in the way of volunteers — mainly for help with running the always-busy concession stand. Anyone interested in volunteering, whether it be for just an hour or for the entire day, can call Tracey Littleton at (302) 245-8130.
For more information on both the Senior League and Big League World Series, including a full schedule of games, visit www.seniorsoftballws.org and www.bigleaguesoftballws.org. You can also find out more on their Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, and get updates using the hashtags #llssws, #seniorsoftballws, #llblws, and #bigsoftballws.