LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - The biggest youth baseball tournament will not take place this summer.
Little League International made the official announcement Thursday afternoon, canceling all seven of the World Series tournaments that they host as well as all 82 regional tournaments.
“This is a heartbreaking decision for everyone at Little League International, but more so for those millions of Little Leaguers who have dreamt of one day playing in one of our seven World Series events,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO in a statement. “After exhausting all possible options, we came to the conclusion that because of the significant public health uncertainty that will still exist several months from now, and with direction from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, as well as senior public health officials and government leaders from locations where our other six World Series are held, as well as the their qualifying regional tournaments, it will not be possible to proceed with our tournaments as we’ve hosted them for nearly 75 years.”
Little League has encouraged local leagues to play out seasons if local guidelines allow. The organization has also not taken district or state tournaments off the table. The 2020 Little League Classic which was set to feature the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles has also been canceled. According to the release, Major League Baseball is committed to returning to the event next summer.
This year marks three years since Lufkin won the 2017 LLWS and two years since Lufkin won the Junior League World Series. Lufkin Parks and Recreation Director Mike Flinn said the Lufkin Little League is still planning to play games at all age levels once Governor Greg Abbott allows for youth sports to come back.
“Delivering this news comes with a very heavy heart. We have never had to cancel our World Series tournaments, but, right now, as our world comes together, we must do everything we can to help stem the spread of this deadly virus,” said Hugh E. Tanner, Little League International Board of Directors Chairman. “While we take this pause from the World Series and Regional Tournaments this summer, we are committed to working with our volunteers and staff to continue to provide an unparalleled youth sports experience to all children and be back stronger than ever in 2021.”