With the exception of a handful of Little League security staff and about three media members, press row was all but empty at Volunteer Stadium around noon on Wednesday. Despite the lack of TV cameras and a full capacity crowd, there was two teams playing a game.
A few hundred people sat in the stands scattered around watching the MEA champions of Lugazi, Uganda, play a pickup game against the Midwest champions of Kearney, Neb.
No television cameras. No ESPN reporters. No packed stands of screaming fans.
Just two teams separated by 8,000 miles playing baseball for fun before their summer ends and they head back home to start the school year.
It's not a rare sight to see during the Little League World Series. The crossover games, as they're called, have been going on for a number of years. Back when the Little League World Series was a single elimination tournament, a loser of a U.S. game would face a loser of an international game in a consolation bracket.
The Little League World Series expanded in 1992 and ever since, has been doing voluntary crossover games between teams that get eliminated early on in the Series.
For the kids, it's a fun experience to keep playing with friends they've made during their time in South Williamsport.
"It's still a Little League World Series game, but it's a laid back atmosphere," Little League Vice President of Communications Lance Van Auken said. "It's just kind of a fun thing all the way around for the kids."
The umpires that volunteer for the crossover games are from District 12, giving them a special and unique chance to umpire at the mecca of youth baseball. It also allows for managers to fiddle with their lineups.
The games aren't predetermined by Little League. The players and managers set up pickup games. After the two managers of the teams talk to a member of the Little League operations division and tell them they'd like to play on a set day of the week, Little League works it out.
Recently, those pickup games have been occurring at Volunteer Stadium which, after Tuesday during the Series, is shut down in terms of tournament play. Prior to when international championship games and consolation games were played at Volunteer Stadium, the crossover games would be played on the practice fields on the lowel level of the complex.
This year, many of the players have become close with the kids from Uganda and it's leading them to playing a few crossover games, including another on Thursday morning against the European champions from Ramstein, Germany.
"That's kind of the impression I got and they've (Uganda) made friends with everyone," Van Auken said. "Frankly, they're here to learn the game. We've seen improvement just since they've gotten here. They emulate the teams that they see and this is the first time they've really seen baseball at the high levels other than a few games at the region in Poland."
In 1969, Newberry Little League made its way to the Little League World Series and was the first local team to appear since Lock Haven in 1949. Donald Cohick was the starting pitcher of that Newberry squad and he said in a 2009 interview that he regretted he never had the opportunity to throw against the eventual champions from Taiwan..
Thanks to crossover games, those "what if?" questions can finally be answered, and the kids at the Little League World Series enjoy it.
"They do, they do a lot. The tournament's so long now that they do spend a lot more time together up in the Grove and making friends and they want to play these games," Van Auken said.
There's generally never a problem finding teams that wish to play baseball. It's the Little League World Series with 15 other of the best teams in the world.
Sometimes though, the wear and tear of a long all-star season leads to teams heading home after they get eliminated from the Series.
"It just is kind of a cyclical thing because some years, teams they're eliminated and they haven't been home in four weeks and the parents are tired and out of money and they just want to get everybody home and they leave as a team and the team doesn't end up playing a crossover game," Van Auken said. "Just kind of sad that they don't get that whole experience of being able to play a team from other side of the planet.
"This year, it just seems like there's a lot more teams interested in it, which is good."