Little League World Series just around the corner

Much of the world will soon be focused on Williamsport when the Little League World Series kicks off with its youth tournament.

The games begin Thursday and culminate with the championship game on Aug. 26.

Sixteen teams, including eight international clubs, compete to carry the banner of world champion with all games played at Howard J. Lamade Stadium and Volunteer Stadium.

The week of Little League activities kicks off Wednesday with the annual Grand Slam Parade through the streets of downtown Williamsport with former Major League shortstop Ozzie Smith serving as this year’s grand marshall.

The parade kicks off at 6 p.m.

Little League spokesman Brian McClintock noted the various festivities connected to the games.

“We will have our opening ceremonies at 10 a.m. (Thursday) at Volunteer Stadium,” he said.

This year, Thomas Tull, founder of Tulco, will be enshrined into the Little League Hall of Excellence prior to the championship game.

“Thomas exemplifies all that it means to be a member of the Little Hall of Excellence and we are honored to welcome him back to Williamsport to receive this prestigious honor,” Little League President and CEO Stephen D. Keener said.

Todd Frazier returns to Williamsport to play in the Major League Classic game for the New York Mets against the Philadelphia Phillies on Aug. 19 at Bowman Field. Frazier, a member of the 1998 World Champion Tom’s River, New Jersey. East American Little League team, will be honored that day along with other teammates from that club.

The Challenger Game is set for 10:30 a.m. Aug.25. Each year, the Little League Challenger Division provides baseball playing opportunities to more than 30,000 children with physical and intellectual challenges in more than 900 leagues.

McClintock said fans and other visitors to the Little League complex in South Williamsport can expect a few changes.

“We have three brand new scoreboards this year,” he said.

The LED video display scoreboards have been erected at both stadiums and at the back of Lamade Stadium to offer fans throughout the concourse a “unique game day experience.”

Fans will be kept informed with interactive displays, social interactions and other activities, according to McClintock.

“We are really looking forward to engaging with the fans,” he said.

Little League officials decided to install new scoreboards after assessing the difficulty and cost to repairing the old ones.

Final preparations have been made to the fields and the rest of the baseball complex to have everything ready by the first pitch.

As always, admission to games and parking at the complex are free.