Africa finally gets to bat in the Little League Baseball World Series.
For the first time in the series’ 66-year history, a team from Africa will vie for the championship when the summer classic begins next month in Williamsport, Pa.
The Lugazi Little League from, Lugazi, Uganda, qualified for the series by defeating a team from Kuwait City 5-2 last week to capture the Middle East & Africa Tournament, a five-team series played in Poland.
The victory and series berth were especially sweet for the Lugazi team because a different Uganda squad earned a spot in the World Series last year but couldn’t play because the U.S. State Department denied the players visas because of discrepancies over their ages.
The 2011 Uganda team knocked off Saudi Arabia, a perennial baseball power. The Saudi team wound up going to Williamsport because of the visa flap.
“After last year’s World Series, we met with State Department officials to work on ways to avoid a repeat of last year’s unfortunate situation,” said Patrick W. Wilson, Little League International’s senior vice president of operations and program development. “The meetings focused on ensuring that all players on the team, as well as the manager and coaches, would have all the necessary paperwork before the Uganda national championship team even traveled to Poland for the regional tournament.”
After clinching a World Series berth, the Uganda team almost immediately began working on getting the proper documentation to apply for visas at the U.S. Embassy in Kampala to avoid last year’s heart-breaking rejection.
Uganda government officials were so angry and crushed by the State Department’s decision last year that the vice chairman of the country’s National Council of Sports called for an investigation and vowed to punish any Ugandans who were guilty or who were involved in any carelessness or wrongdoing in connection with the visa applications.
"What happened shames our country and we should not encourage it," Godfrey Mabirizi, the national sports council vice chair, told the Associated Press last year. "Unless USA has other reasons for denying the players visas, but if it is because of lying age or disorganized documents then it is unfortunate."
Little League Baseball officials expressed confidence last week that history won’t repeat itself this year.
“In the months since our meetings with the U.S. State Department, we have been working with the local Little Leagues in Uganda on the methods to obtain the proper documents,” Wilson said. “We are grateful to the State Department for its assistance. As a result, we are now cautiously optimistic that the Uganda team will be joining us next month in South Williamsport for the 66th Little League Baseball World Series.”
Little League baseball has come a long way in a short period of time in Africa. The Ugandan Little League was chartered in 2005. Lugazi is a city in southeastern Uganda, about 31 miles from the capital city of Kampala. The Lugazi Little League is one of five chartered Little Leagues in the country. More than 700 boys and girls currently play Little League baseball and softball in Uganda.
In winning the Middle East & Africa tournament, the Lugazi team suffered only one loss, a 2-1 defeat to the Arabian American Little League in its first game. The Lugazi squad only allowed five runs in its five tournament games.
The African team joins Little League squads from Aguadulce, Panama; Tokyo, Japan; Taoyuan County, Chinese Taipei; and Willemstad, Curacao, in the 16-team world series field. The players from Lugazi will likely draw a lot of national and international media attention during the World Series, which is in prime time on ESPN and ABC.
The Lugazi team will play its first World Series game on Aug. 17, against Aguadulce Cabezera of Panama, the Latin America Region Champion.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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