SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Little League International has announced that it will relocate its 2022 Little League Baseball and Junior League Baseball Europe & Africa Region Tournaments as the Poland facility will host a group of softball players and coaches seeking refuge from Ukraine.
The tournament was originally scheduled to be held at its European Region Headquarters in Kutno, Poland. Working with the Polish government, the facility will host a group of softball players and coaches seeking refuge from Ukraine, who arrived at the Kutno facility on Monday, May 16.
A former Ukrainian Little League coach first approached Little League Europe & Africa Region staff to inquire about using the Kutno facility to host a group of softball players from clubs throughout the country.
Officials say Kutno is approximately 250 miles from the Poland-Ukraine border. Staff collaborated with the group from Ukraine to work with the Polish government to begin the refugee process.
In total, 37 players, ages 12-18 and three coaches will be utilizing the facilities through at least mid-June before embarking on European softball tournament play.
Little League International is working with the Polish government to provide housing, food, and other necessities, while they also have access to the playing fields and facilities to continue to play softball.
Stephen D. Keener, Little League President, and CEO stated:
This is an unimaginably difficult time for everyone in Ukraine, and we’re grateful that we will be able to provide these young softball players and their coaches not only a safe haven but also with facilities to continue to play the sport they love.”
“While baseball and softball are trivial in comparison to the horrors Ukrainians are facing, Little League is where communities can come together around the world. We hope that this group has a meaningful stay in Kutno and that they are able to return home to a peaceful Ukraine very soon.”Stephen D. Keener, Little League President, and CEO
The Little League Baseball (LLB) and Junior League Baseball (JLB) Europe & Africa Region Tournaments will be relocated to Moergestel, Netherlands, and Modena, Italy, respectively.
The LLB tournament in Moergestel will feature 13 teams competing from July 16-23 to represent the Europe & Africa Region in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, this August.
The JLB tournament will take place from June 27-July 3 and feature nine teams competing in Modena for a chance to compete in the Junior League Baseball World Series in Taylor, Michigan, scheduled to take place from August 14-21.
The Little League World Series in South Williamsport is scheduled to begin on August 17 and will go on until August 28.