Woodstock bypassed for 50/70 World Series
Woodstock will not be the setting for the 50/70 Little League World Series after Livermore, Calif., was named the recipient of the tournament earlier this month.
Several cities were considered for the tournament, including Woodstock. Little League International announced it would host a 50/70 World Series in 2013 with games played between Aug. 1 and Aug. 15. The 50/70 league is for players between the ages of 11 and 13. Fields used have 70-foot base paths and a pitcher’s mound 50 feet from home plate.
Emricson Park’s Sullivan Field emerged as a possible location for the event, though massive changes and additions — estimated to cost about $200,000 — would have been needed to accommodate the tournament.
“We are all disappointed [Woodstock wasn’t chosen], but we hope to have a team end up playing in [the tournament],” said Darrin Chonos, Woodstock Little League president.
Had the tournament been played in Woodstock, one of 14 teams in the local Little League district would have participated in the tournament.
Chonos met with the Woodstock City Council at its July 17 meeting in an attempt to secure a commitment from the city to fund the renovations. While the city did not approve the expenditures, they voted 4-2 in favor of keeping negotiations with LLI open.
Despite not receiving the bid to host the tournament, the popularity of the 50/70 program has expanded in Woodstock. Woodstock Little League is still looking at options to expand Sullivan Field. The city currently has two 70-foot baseball fields, and there is additional capacity on the softball fields in town that the league can use.
“Expanding Sullivan would give us a 70-foot field with lights. Having the lights is a big help when trying to run tournaments and playing fall baseball when the days are shorter,” Chonos said. “The board is exploring a few options including a multi-year plan, which would allow costs to be spread out.”
In addition to potential host cities near Chicago, the town of Vancouver, Wash., also was discussed as a possible location before Livermore was chosen.
“It was a difficult choice, since all the cities are so close in terms of what they have to offer,” Stephen Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said in a statement. “Any of them, we are confident, would do a terrific job of hosting such a high-profile event. Ultimately, the board of directors settled on northern California, the greater San Francisco area, Livermore, and Granada Little League, as its top choice.”
Under a pilot program, local 50/70 leagues worldwide have chartered teams in the experimental division since 2010. After each season, LLI has gathered information from these local leagues and districts on best practices. This has allowed the league to refine the guidelines in preparation for establishing the new division and the ninth Little League World Series tournament.