© 2024 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Massapequa Coast faces Honolulu in Little League World Series

The Little League World Series baseball tournament, featuring 20 teams from around the world, starts Wednesday in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Gene J. Puskar
The Little League World Series baseball tournament, featuring 20 teams from around the world, starts on Wednesday in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania

The Massapequa Coast Little League baseball team is set to take on Honolulu on Friday in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Massapequa Coast is representing the state of New York from the Metro Region. The first pitch between the two teams is scheduled for 7 p.m.

On Long Island, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman added to the fun by wagering a bet with HonoluluMayor Rick Blangiardi prior to the contest.

“How about a case of our finest Hawaiian macadamia nuts that says that our boys from Honolulu come out on top?” Blangiardi said, offering the popular snack food of Hawaii.

“I look forward to hearing from you and best of luck to both teams. But Bruce, I’m counting on you to match the bet.”

“I am betting him Pappalardo’s Pizza versus his macadamia nuts, that our team, Massapequa Coast, is going to win,” said Blakeman

Pappalardo’s Pizza is a popular restaurant in Massapequa, New York.

The Long Island team clinched a spot in the Little League World Series by defeating Toms River of New Jersey in the Metro Region championship game last week.

Two new regions were introduced in the United States: the Metro Region including Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island, and the Mountain Region including Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. A pair of new regions were also introduced internationally, with Panama and Puerto Rico earning bids to this year’s tournament.

A Little League World Series spokesman said the decision to introduce four new regions was intended to reflect areas with the highest levels of Little League participation. More teams, however, means more parents and family members in attendance at a minimum. And in the case of the Metro Region, specifically, the Northeast now houses three World Series bids instead of two.

“I think (expansion) absolutely will increase the attendance,” Williamsport Mayor Derek Slaughter said. “Just because of the geographical location of that Metro area. Clearly, it’s not that far away from Williamsport, so folks can easily drive here.

After no tournament in 2020 and no international clubs in 2021, both due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the youth baseball tournament has expanded to 20 teams from around the world that will play ball in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, starting Wednesday.

This year’s series marks the 75th anniversary of the first tournament, which has become a staple of life in central Pennsylvania, not to mention an economic boost for South Williamsport — where the Little League complex is actually housed — and Williamsport, just across the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. Together, the communities of about 35,000 people have been looking forward to the return of fans and families.

“It’s been a tough few years here. Last year we had a limited World Series, of course, but there’s nothing that can take the place of a full World Series,” Slaughter said. “It’s hard to really quantify, or even qualify, what that means.”

Mike Lyle is a former reporter and host at WSHU.
The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.