Williamsport, Pennsylvania is once again playing host to the annual Little League Baseball World Series. Unlike the major leagues, the Little League World Series is truly international. Eight teams from around the world compete for the international championship and eight American teams compete for the title of American champion — the two champions then play each other.
This year attention has focused on the first African team that has competed in the series : Uganda represented the Middle East and Africa, though they are now out of the running.
Unaccustomed to playing in cleats, the team’s players initially practiced in bare feet or socks.
Mitch Rupert, sports reporter for the Williamsport Sun Gazette, says everyone has been impressed by how well the team played.
“We’re all a little surprised at their level of play,” he told Here & Now‘s Robin Young. “The big fear was they were going to come in and get beat 15 to nothing in their games. [But] these kids can play a little. They’re very athletic, because most of them were soccer players.”
Rupert says he might even expect to see the team back in next year’s world series as most of the players are on the bottom end of the 11 to 13 age limit.
- Mitch Rupert, sports reporter for the Williamsport Sun Gazette