Rain washes out 4 games at Little League World Series
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) All four games at the Little League World Series were washed out Thursday, setting up a delayed start with all 16 teams in the tournament playing on Friday.
Officials made the decision to call off the opening schedule as storms rolled in shortly after noon, with up to an inch of rain expected. Opening ceremonies were canceled and won't be rescheduled.
Eight games are now set for Friday. Little League officials believe that is the most played in one day at the world series. The series used to be a single-elimination event with eight teams needing just eight games total over a few days to declare a champion. The tournament introduced pool play in 1992 and expanded to its current 16 teams in 2001. Little League has used a modified double-elimination format since 2010.
Williamsport's National Weather Service forecast for Friday called for a slight chance of showers before 2 p.m. EDT, then clouds, sun and high temperatures around 80 degrees through the middle of next week.
The revised schedule for Friday is: Uganda vs. Dominican Republic at 10 a.m., Pearland, Texas, vs. Portland, Oregon at 11 a.m.; Venezuela, vs. Australia at 1 p.m.; Bowling Green, Kentucky vs. Bonita, California at 2 p.m.; Surrey, British Columbia vs. Mexicali, Mexico, 4 p.m.; Taylors, South Carolina vs. Cranston, Rhode Island at 5 p.m.; Taiwan vs. Japan at 7 p.m.; and Lewisberry, Pennsylvania vs. Webb City, Missouri at 8 p.m.
An off day is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 28, but Little League preferred to keep the tournament on schedule as much as possible through the early rounds to have flexibility in case of weather problems later on. The series has only skipped the off day once.
The team from New Albany, Indiana, that was to receive its uniforms, championship banner, and be recognized as the 2014 Great Lakes regional champions with a ceremonial first pitch Thursday night will now be recognized before Friday's Bowling Green vs. Bonita game. Bowling Green is this year's Great Lakes region champion. Little League declared New Albany the 2014 Great Lakes champion in February after stripping the honor from Jackie Robinson West of Chicago for boundary manipulation and ineligible players.
Little League World Series festivities began Wednesday night with the Grand Slam parade in downtown Williamsport, with former manager Jim Leyland serving as grand marshal. Former New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera is still scheduled to visit and be inducted into Little League's Hall of Excellence on Tuesday.