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Australia to play in Little League World Series
New Little League International alignment adds Aussie champs
08/31/2012 6:05 AM ET
The Little League World Series is held in Williamsport, Pennsylvania in the US annually.
The Little League World Series is held in Williamsport, Pennsylvania in the US annually. 

GOLD COAST, 31 August - The Australian Baseball Federation is pleased to announce that Australia has gained automatic entry into the Little League World Series from 2013.

The new Little League International alignment gives Australia's National Champion team; decided at the Little League National Championships in May each year, an automatic berth into the World Series. Up until now, Australia has had to go through the Asia Pacific Little League qualifying tournament.

Australian Baseball Federation CEO, Brett Pickett, said that this announcement comes at a great time of growth for the Little League baseball division in Australia.

"This is a significant announcement for Australian Baseball and something that we have been working towards with Little League International for a long time. Little League is at an exciting period of growth in Australia and this World Series berth strengthens our place with the other top baseball regions in the World" said Mr Pickett.

President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, Stephen D. Keener, said in their official announcement; "In the last few years, we have seen tremendous growth in Australia - so much so that Australia is now our fourth-largest country in terms of total participation."

Little League is the largest participation sport in the world, played by over 2.5 million kids worldwide. The international competitions are unique in that the competing teams are not selected national representative sides. The teams that play at the World Series are from local community charters, succeeding on the world stage with the same team mates they play with every weekend.

Little League International Board of Directors decided last week that three of the existing 16 regions will be realigned. The realignment also means some countries will compete in a different region in the Little League Baseball (Majors) International Tournament.

The full regional alignment in Little League (Majors) Baseball for 2012, and for next season:

 2012 Regions 
2013 Regions
Latin America
Latin America
Middle East and Africa
Europe and Africa
Asia-Pacific and Middle East

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.