For those that enjoy watching the excitement of the Little League World Series each summer, your opportunity to watch some of the best young baseball players in the world is not limited to watching them on television or making the trip to Pennsylvania.
You can watch some in person right here in the Tri-Valley, as the 2016 Intermediate Little League World Series will take place again in Livermore at Max Baer Park. This year's version takes place this Sunday through Aug. 7, with the Intermediate Aces from Danville and Tassajara Valley Little Leagues set to compete.
The 2015 tournament was won by the team from Seoul, South Korea, who defeated Wellington, Fla. in the finals. The final game was televised on ESPN2 and was seen in person by a crowd estimated at 10,000.
The Intermediate Division consists of ages 11-13 years old, with the majority of players being 13. The division is also known as "50/70" -- because the distance from the pitching rubber to the plate is 50 feet and the distance between bases is 70 feet.
Seoul will be back to defend their title as they took the Asia-Pacific Region title by beating Japan in the finals. Also earning their way in has been the South Czech Republic Little League representing the Europe-Africa region; Pabao Little League from Curacao, representing Latin America; Guayama representing Puerto Rico. Canada will fill out the International side of the bracket.
As a result of winning the District 57 Tournament -- our local district -- on June 18, the Intermediate Aces, 12 players from Danville and Tassajara Valley Little Leagues, will represent California District 57. The California District 57 team will open play on Sunday at 6 p.m. against the representative from the U.S. Southwest region.
The United States side of the tournament will feature representatives from the following regions: Central, East, Southeast. Southwest, West and of course, District 57.
The championship game, which once again will be shown on ESPN 2, is set for Aug. 7 at 5:30 p.m.
The rest of the field was filled out earlier this week. The field and the full schedule of games, as well as other information can be found at www.intermediateworldseries.org.
It is a great event and I can recall being in the backyard of my sister's house -- they live close by the field -- and hearing the different national anthems played. It was a pretty cool feeling. To think we have a world championship being decided in our area is pretty newsworthy and something that everyone in the area should support.
On Saturday, the opening ceremony festivities will kick off the tournament. Beginning at noon there will be activities for all of the players, families and local fans alike. There will be a hit-a-thon, kids' activities, local food vendors and Oakland A's mascot, Stomper.
There is no charge for viewing of any of the games or the events. The only charges are for the food vendors or the souvenir stand.